10-1-06 Wonderful Fall
In This Issue:
- What’s growin’ on?
- A bright idea – bulbs
- Product of the Month: Ash Gray T-shirt
- Tip of the Month: Michigan Bulb Company
1. What’s growin’ on?
Ah, fall – my favorite planting season. While other folks may be bemoaning the change in the weather and the earlier sunsets, Gardenerds everywhere are busy planning out their fall vegetable gardens. September 15 marked the beginning of fall planting, so there’s no better time than right now!
In my fall garden, heirloom lettuces take center stage along with herbs like cilantro, parsley and thyme. These veggies like warm weather to germinate and cooler weather to mature. You’ll have fresh greens at the ready all through April if you plant in succession every two weeks. Don’t forget your brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages. They can be direct-seeded in the garden in warm weather climates. Short season areas would do better starting with transplants. Here is a more complete list of things to put in your vegetable garden this season:
Lettuces: loose-leaf and head varieties
Greens: augula, mustard greens, collards, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Herbs: parsley – flat and curly, cilantro, thyme, fennel, mint, sorrel, and lovage.
Brassicas (in mild climates): broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kohl-rabi.
Root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, and radishes.
Bulb Vegetables: Green onions, and Garlic! Grow your year’s supply of garlic in as little as 4 square feet.
Vines: Peas, and sweet peas (for color).
Green manure crops: these are cover crops that lock in nitrogen and that build up the soil: fava beans, clover, hairy vetch, and the like. Dedicate one raised bed per fall season for this wonderful soil builder and you will have a loamy foundation to start with in spring. Check out www.groworganic.com for their wonderful selection of cover crops.
Plant now before the weather gets cooler. Use floating row covers to protect crops in areas where frost sets in early. You’ll enjoy fall’s offering of green, green, green and you’ll eat it up all winter long!
2. A bright idea – bulbs
If you haven’t already started to receive bulb catalogs in the mail, you will soon be inundated with a tempting array of beautiful bulbs from all over the world. Tulips, dahlias, daffodils, muscari… oh, the choices are endless! Now is the perfect time to order bulbs for fall planting. In my neck of the woods, planting bulbs over Thanksgiving weekend has been a tradition of mine for almost a decade. In many areas, bulbs require refrigeration for 6 to 8 weeks before planting. You will also need to keep your refrigerated bulbs away from apples because the ethane gas that apples produce can kill off the flowering properties of your bulbs. In the past I have used Evert-Fresh bags (available by mail in natural product catalogs like Gaiam.com) to store apples in the refrigerator. These bags spared my bulbs from debilitation. It’s a no-worry solution that worked like a charm.
Even if you don’t have a space in the garden, you can plant them in pots on the windowsill. Many catalogs even offer gift sets of bulbs and vases for easy, soil-free growing. So don’t miss the opportunity to have a relatively maintenance-free area of your garden – indoors or out – dedicated to bulbs this fall.
3. Product of the Month: Ash Gray T-shirt
With all the work to be done in the garden this month, you may need some help hiding the dirt on your shirt. Pick up this month’s featured Gardenerd Ash Gray T-shirt – it’s ash gray to mask the results of a long day’s work. Also great for working out at the gym, this sporty color flatters any complexion. So glisten away, you’ll look great in gray.
4. Tip of the Month: Michigan Bulb Company
The drool factor is pretty high with this catalog. Michigan Bulb Company advertises a dizzying array of bulbs at affordable prices, as well as special offers that you will find hard to resist. They also provide a planting guide that allows you to enter your color scheme, planting zone and sun exposure to find the right bulbs for your garden. Go to www.michiganbulb.com and start shopping. Don’t forget to wear a bib.
Stay tuned for more gardening tips and tidbits from the Gardenerd. Happy Fall Gardening!.