Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Well, it’s October now, and before you know it another vegetable gardening season will come to a close as winter sets in. There are some crops that do tolerate a good touch of frost, but generally speaking, vegetables don’t grow in the snow for good reason. That said, many common garden vegetables can still be planted late in the season and harvested. Right now you should be making arrangements for what’s going to be harvested and when, as well as protecting what is still in the ground from sudden drops in temperature. This is especially of concern overnight when the below freezing cold can creep in on little cat feet and steal your hard work. Here is an article by Bunny Guinness in The Telegraph that enumerates some of the preparations she recommends that keep her garden going even into very cold weather.

Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Winter gardens are like chilly swimming pools, refreshing and invigorating once you have taken the plunge. I like to get out in the garden most weekends, relishing the crisper air and more energetic types of winter gardening.

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening in the cold is possible with the right crop selection and planning. Photo by Alain Turgeon c/o Photos.Com.

Keeping your vegetable beds brimful so you have an “outdoor larder” stocked for continual use works in many ways. Making sure the soil is always covered with plants helps stop nutrients being washed through the soil, and keeps the soil structure and organisms in good order.

You can grow edibles you cannot buy and, most important of all, having a wide range of vegetables and herbs means your menus become more diverse and biased in favour of greenery.

The winter vegetable garden needs a little help in the soil department. No green manures for me, though. I would rather have a productive crop and just add compost to top up organic matter. I add this whenever I change a crop and earth up and top-dress with it too.

Check your soil’s pH. The RHS is offering free soil testing of four samples (to everyone, not just members) till the end of October (see rhs.org.uk). Even on my alkaline (pH8) soil, the continual addition of compost increases the acidity, so adding lime (usually in winter) is necessary.

When your vegetable gardening season starts coming to a close, realize that there is still plenty of life left in your garden. With the proper planning, plant selection and timing, you can still get another round of produce out of it. Why not try some of Bunny’s suggestions for your own garden and see what you can harvest. You might surprise yourself.
Please leave a comment below. If you’re one of those late season vegetable gardeners like Bunny, share your experiences with us. You can also click the like button and share this idea with a fellow gardener.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.  —  Tom Robbins

Best Tip To Grow Vegetables In Containers: Throw In The Kitchen Sink

When it comes time for you to grow vegetables in containers, gardener and author Michael Kelly has some advice for us all: Throw in the kitchen sink. That’s right. Sounds strange at first, but he’s talking about using unconventional yet still everyday items that will function perfectly well as vegetable gardening containers. Here Michael Kelly writes for the Independent.ie and has some sound, if not unconventional advice for would be container vegetable gardeners.

Best Tip To Grow Vegetables In Containers: Throw In The Kitchen Sink

I HAVE been pleasantly surprised with the success that I have had growing aubergines and peppers in containers and grow bags

grow vegetables in containers

Grow vegetables in containers that are unconventional. Photo by Hemera Technologies c/o Photos.Com.

this year. I have about 15-20 pepper plants in pots in the potting shed that are very productive — churning out bell and chilli peppers over the last two to three weeks.

For the first time ever for me, I’ve also had good aubergines — thanks to container growing. For the last few years, I’ve grown them in the ground in the polytunnel and I’ve never been rewarded with even a single aubergine (though the plant is attractive and produced lots of pretty flowers).

This year, however, I grew the aubergines in a grow bag in the potting shed and we’ve been enjoying beautiful sleek, black aubergines for a month now.

I’m blessed with plenty of space to grow here on the Home Farm, so I generally only grow in containers when I end up sowing far too many seeds in the spring. Rather than throw the excess plants out, it makes sense to make use of them by either (a) giving them away to fellow GIYers or (b) pot them up into containers.

They can then be moved to anywhere you have a bit of space.

If you are short on space, however, container growing can be a lifesaver — even a balcony or windowsill can become a productive GIY HQ. The good news is that with a little care most vegetables will grow well in containers.

In addition to the space-saving positives, there are a number of additional benefits to growing your food this way. For starters, they make an attractive addition to any garden. It’s also generally easier to get plants going in pots because they are not as vulnerable to pests and the elements as they are in the open ground. The great bane of the Irish grower — the slug (boo! hiss!) — is not as big a problem when growing in containers as it is in the soil.

Weeding is generally not a problem either, particularly when using bought compost. A container is, quite simply, a more controlled environment for a plant to grow in.

Read all of Michael’s tips and tricks here at independent.ie:

You can certainly grow vegetables in containers of almost any sort. You’re only limited by your own imagination and what you have available. See what you have lying about your yard or what’s available this weekend at your local garage sale. You’d probably surprise yourself at what you might think to bring home for that next new planting bed in the garden.

Please go ahead and share your inspirations by leaving a comment or two below. Click the like button to share your inspiration with a friend.

The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.   —  Torquato Tasso

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening In Bay View

Walk with me and take a step by step raised bed vegetable gardening tour of some points of interest here in Bay View, a community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I happen to know this area very well as I go there quite a lot. It also just happens to be where my wife grew up and many of our best friends still live. Here is a very entertaining and informative article I stumbled on from The Bay View Compass highlighting some of the local resident’s efforts at gardening in a space restricted environment while still achieving very respectable yields and improving the neighborhood all at the same time.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening In Bay View

Anodyne Café, 2920 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., sports a sidewalk vegetable garden on the south wall of the building. Lacee Perry, Matt McClutchy and their three children tend the garden next they’ve tucked up next to their café. Peppers and tomatoes proliferate in

step by step raised bed vegetable gardening

Using step by step raised bed vegetable gardening techniques in an urban setting can provide ample yields of produce in a small space. Photo by Jupiterimages c/o Photos.Com.

the petite garden. “We grow vegetables because they taste so good right out of ground, and it’s a good way to get the kids to eat more vegetables,” Perry said. “[Our children] can’t deny a cute little green bean they have planted, watered, loved, and picked themselves.”

The garden soil was enriched with compost from Sweet Water Organics. No synthetic fertilizers are used. Instead Perry and McClutchy use worm castings and tea to enrich the soil during the growing season. In fall, composted bedding from the family’s chicken coop is spread on the garden soil.

The biggest obstacle for gardeners Perry and McClutchy is the dearth of space for gardening. “Early spring rolls around and we have visions of stacks and stacks of home-canned goodies. The challenging part is to adjust those visions down to a city-size plot,” Perry said. “[Matt and I] were used to larger garden beds as kids. The city lots have forced us to plant in small beds carved out between swaths of concrete, both at our home and at Anodyne. Despite space constraints, the garden has been a source of delight. It’s great to talk to the customers and neighbors as they walk by about our garden’s progress and about their own patches of earth.” —JK

Read all of the creative efforts of Bay View’s resident gardeners at bayviewcompass.com:

There are many raised bed vegetable gardening techniques that will give surprisingly large yields of vegetable crops in confined spaces. Using raised bed methods also gives you more control over soil composition and makes it easier to weed and harvest. Just make sure that there is a little more frequent watering since raised beds tend to dry out more quickly than planting at ground level. I hope you enjoyed this small tour of this area that’s so close to my heart.

Please leave a comment and share your own thoughts and vegetable gardening experiences. You can even click on the like button to share this with a friend.

To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening. —  Marina Schinz

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Easier On The Elderly

Raised bed vegetable gardening is a very good approach to help alleviate some of the drudgery of gardening. As we are all getting older (I should only speak for myself at this point), finding ways to lessen the need to bend, stoop and kneel while tending our plots is a welcome idea. As the young lady in the featured article has just turned 92, she certainly does appreciate being able to actively garden since her raised beds were built for her recently. In this short piece by Amy Menery for the Rapid City Journal, be sure to take a good look at the beds in the photo.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Easier On The Elderly

When gardening has been not only a passion but a lifestyle, getting older shouldn’t hold you back, which is why Della Colman’s garden got a lift — about two feet off the ground.

raised bed vegetable gardening

Raised bed vegetable gardening makes for less work. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

Colman found it was getting difficult to work in her garden, which is laden with vegetables and flowers, so she had a raised bed built a few years ago. At 92, she can still get around the narrow garden passages behind her Gallery Lane home while using her hoe as a walking stick.

“Oh honey, I’ve been gardening all my life,” Colman said, when asked about her interest in growing things. “I was born in the mountains in North Carolina and all my folks were gardeners — they raised everything we ate.”

Onions, carrots, beets, corn, peas, cabbage, grapes and even raspberries fill the raised beds, but among them are also some colorful, less edible growths.

“There’s larkspur,” she says, pointing out purple flowers along the garden path, “and look, the little birds, they planted them in a row.”

Other cheery flowers have found their way into the garden, and, though pretty, Colman said she didn’t plant them.

Original article here at rapidcityjournal.com:

Raised bed vegetable gardening techniques can save us from a great deal of strain and unpleasantness by simply changing the way we relate to our plants. Bringing them up and letting more sunlight in and keeping more unwanted plants (aka. weeds) out gives you more time to enjoy your vegetable garden and lessens the amount of time you’re forced to spend doing the things you don’t enjoy so much or have a harder time doing physically. Get more pleasure out of your vegetable garden by eliminating some of the pain of maintaining it by setting up a raised bed.

Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and opinions. You can also click on the like button and share this with a friend.

Gardeners are–let’s face it–control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wresting weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.                    

                                                                                         — Abby Adams

Grow Herbs on Your Balcony

Grow Herbs on Your Balcony

It’s easy and fun to grow herbs in a small space like a patio or balcony. When you grow herbs, remember that for the most part they are very hardy plant species and tend to grow where the conditions are pretty rough. They will do just fine in your vegetable garden, especially in between your other plantings, but they also grow well in less favorable settings. These are ideal plants for small spaces and also for raising in containers.

Grow Herbs You Enjoy In Your Cooking

First you need to decide which herbs you’d like to grow. Think about what herbs you like to use in your cooking. You can just grow them for their visual appeal, but why not get the most out of your efforts and be able to include garden fresh herbs in your cooking, too. Of course, some will die back during the winter if you leave them outside. Just remember to put a tag where they were growing so you’ll remember what was planted there next season.

Always Grow Herbs in the Proper Container

If you’re planting in small pots, choose terra cotta because it dries quickly and allows your plants to grow without getting overly wet. Herbs can tolerate having their soil dried out much better than being too soggy. If you decide to grow mint, remember to containerize it within the pot or bed, otherwise it will take over the area it’s planted in. With a minimum of effort, anyone can easily grow herbs almost anywhere.