Fall seedlings

The seedlings I planted for Fall harvests have loved this last week’s rain and cooler temperatures and are all starting to sprout.

Buttercrunch lettuce

I love how you can direct-seed in Fall because the soil is already warm. The bugs are fewer (slightly), and the cooler temperatures mean plants can survive more easily on their own once transplanted. More frequent rain means less watering, and because cool-weather plants have less of an appetite that summer ones, you don’t really have to amend the beds before planting.

Beets

I sprinkled wood ashes, and gave the greens-crops a bit of blood meal and the root crops a bit of bone meal, but didn’t bother adding too much compost.

Peas – 300 square feet of ’em

Below is a “mangle beet”, grown for animal fodder (because of the protein content, similar to grain) not human consumption (maybe it tastes bad? I’m tempted to try it). The leaves are already as big as a fully-grown Swiss Chard! Mangle beets have been known to reach 10 pounds and are an ancient fodder crop mainly grown in the UK. It doesn’t seem bothered by any pests or rodents so far. (Good thing I only planted two or three.) It is surrounded by sunchokes that will be so big next year that they will take over a good section of the bed.

This poor sunchoke has got to be on its last life. I sprouted it, then forgot to water it and waited till it was nearly dead to plant it. I didn’t amend its compacted, rocky clay soil since I figured it would die anyway. It survived though, and sent up more shoots – which I accidentally Round-upped in an over-enthusiastic bid to kill all ivy everywhere. I figured it had surely kicked the bucket this time and forgot about it. Then I was awfully surprised when I was absent-mindedly weeding a month or so later and pulled up two of three big healthy stalks before realizing what they were. Chagrined, I left the lone survivor to live on if it could. This plant is a hard to kill. No wonder many books call it a staple of a homesteader’s garden. I sure hope I like how they taste!

The turnips are really too enthusiastic. I broadcast-seeded them, and I guess I wasn’t careful enough because whoops….

They’re taking over. I’ll wait for them to get a bit bigger before I thin them way back – that way I can use their greens as a side dish one night.

One Response to “Fall seedlings”

  1. Lauren Says:

    if you kill your sunchoke, you can have some from us. we have loads, and they multiply exponentially…we harvest multiple sinks worth every year. and, they taste yummy, potato texture with artichoke flavor…great for soup or gratin, or mixed with potato in a mash (just cook the sunchoke longer than the potato). :)

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