If there’s one time of year that I tend to favor just a little bit more in the growing season, I’d have to vote for fall. Why you ask? After all, isn’t that the end of it all? Well, my answer would be yes and no. I find it to be the end of the height of the growing season, but the beginning of a slower paced colder growing season. Here’s where I get all giddy…in trying to defeat the odds…and pull out Eliot Coleman’s book, Four-Season Harvest.
I’ve talked about the beauty of overwintering your gardens in the past and shared the raised garden beds we built this past spring, and wouldn’t you know we are already gearing up for overwintering and early spring harvests already?! There’s no lull in this growing food thing. It’s just a process that goes round and round, one thing to the next. While we harvest from the height of summer, we are planting transplants for fall and seeding for spring. Amazing how it works like that really. And the insight I am able to gain from this gig…is a bit on how life works. Past, present, and future…they are all one and the same, working together simultaneously as one piece of time and space. One cannot function all alone, or there would be a unnecessary gap. And goodness knows how good fresh greens will taste in the very beginning of March…months before the gardens are buzzing again!
This year we have expanded a bit beyond what we have grown successfully throughout the winter in the past. We have tat soi, vates kale, wild arugula, winter density romaine, dandelion greens, parsley and chard growing. Right before Sorrel was born I seeded some trays with the crops listed above in hopes to have them planted in our hoop house by now. But that’s a whole other topic of gardening/farming and life in general. Sometimes life happens and you can’t quite stretch yourself thin enough to get to it all. So we still have no hoop house. Maybe next week? Once we do, we will plant these seed starts in it along with some evergreen hardy bunching onions, carrots, and radishes.
For now though we have our covered raised beds to work with. One whole bed is lettuce mix, the second bed is filled with spinach, and the third bed will soon be filled with a mild mustard green mix. I can’t share enough how much I love raised beds. My plan is to re seed the beds about October 1st, between the rows we have planted for fall harvest, for a very early spring harvest. The seeds will hibernate and then jump into action as soon as the weather warms up a bit in spring, all the while being protected with what may be left from the fall planting.
Where we live we live in what is referred to as “the snow belt”. Last year the winter here (we hear) was unseasonable rare, as in they barely got any snow. So, we will be operating at a much colder, longer winter season, which is new to us. However, we are all ready to give it a go…and are set to succeed, beating the odds of old Jack Frost!