Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall Gardening...and Bloom Day?

In Iowa, less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, outdoor blooms are hard to come by. I guess if I had planned ahead a little more, I could have planted pansies or something else to be blooming at this time, but I didn't think about that. I did manage to find my speedwell, still making pretty purple blooms, though the rest of the plant doesn't look so hot. Later I realized that my sedum technically still has blooms, but I forgot to get a picture of that. I have never done fall or winter gardening before. I guess I just always assumed that once the frost came in the fall, that was it, game over. I am actually shocked at how many things are still growing and surviving this close to the holidays. I did plant a few things at the end of the summer, to see if I could do a little fall gardening, and though my success rate is not nearly 100%, I am pleased with the results.

Here lies my sleeping garlic. Three kinds of heirloom varieties, planted over a month ago. I suppose they are starting to grow under their bed of straw. The straw certainly stimulated the growth of some grass that is poking up through, but I'll deal with that later. I am excited to make pesto with the scapes in the spring.

I dug two kinds of carrots today, still growing in my vegetable garden. These are the oxheart heirloom variety I planted. They are very round and squat, like a turnip. They are a lovely pale orange, and have a light, sweet taste. The seed packet says they can get up to a pound in weight each. There are still many carrots growing. I expect that if I cover them, I will have carrots until the new year.

These are all the carrots I dug today, planning to make carrot soup and have some leftover. The oxhearts are on the left, and a long, thick red variety on the right. I am happy with the size these carrots achieved after I left them in the soil so much longer than usual. Supposedly the frost gives them a sweetness, as well.

The parsley that I planted in the back corner has really taken off since the frost. Also, the chard seems to be replenishing itself from heavy harvesting in September.

Here, you can see I have little tiny broccoli heads forming. They are going slow, but I can only hope that they make broccoli big enough to eat before the temps get cold enough to stop the plant completely.

My guy had the idea to put the sunflower heads into the empty bird bath that I never remember to fill. We have 3 pairs of blue jays and at least a couple cardinals out in our yard that have been dining on them, along with a very portly squirrel. My guy moved these in direct view of the kitchen window, so perhaps I will be able to get some good pictures of the birds. When this runs out, I will start putting out the store bought seed again. I didn't put any out all spring or summer because the birds pooped all over my patio. I suppose in the winter I don't care, so the bird feeder will be filled again.

Fall and winter gardening has been a new, interesting experience for me, and I expect I will do even more next year. What's going on in your garden right now?

1 comment:

  1. I have those purpley flower thingies in my front yard. Only my husband chopped them down, so I don't know if they're still making flowers. Greg also told me that there are about 15 rotting tomatoes in the backyard. I wonder if they'll make new tomatoes if I just leave them. They made tomatoes so late that I didn't even know they were there.

    This year was so funny with the weather. Next year I want to try carrots like yours--they look delicious, and you can never have too many carrots. (or garlic, for that matter.)


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