Wednesday, July 22, 2009

90 days till first frost

It is hard to believe given the relatively cool summer we have had, but we are only 90 days away from October 20th - the date known as our average first frost date. Our first hard frost date is scheduled for October 31st. This morning I did some fall/winter seed planning and a little planting. With 90 days to go until the first frost, any of the long season veggies that I hope to harvest need to get in the ground soon. Cabbage, beets, and carrots come to mind. If these have the time to reach full size they can be harvested even after the first frost. Carrots can be harvested well into the winter - and I have heard that their taste sweetens after frost. Peas, and beans have a slightly shorter days to maturity - along with some of the chinese cabbages and kales. The shortest days to maturity veggies are the spinaches, and lettuces.

This morning I worked a couple empty spots in the chimney garden. The three spots I worked had previously held garlic, lettuce, and spring snow peas. In that order, I planted early wonder beets, spinach, and green arrow peas. I also tossed in 3 random red cabbage seeds in a little corner of the spinach bed. Before planting, I composted heavily. This section of garden doesn't get a ton of light, so I am skeptical about the beets, but I think the peas and spinach will do just fine. The beets are also suceptible to the ground hog, so there is another strike against them. But my beet crop has been so crummy this year that I just felt I needed to give it one more crack. The spinach I planted inside a fenced area, so they should do fine. The groundhog hasn't eaten my peas yet.

Our harvest weight now exceeds 120 lbs and tomatoes are being harvested daily. One of my co-workers has a father who is a big gardener. She has been bringing zukes, cukes, peppers and cabbage in to share with us. Funny but I have harvested exactly zero zukes (groundhog), 3 cukes (groundhog), zero peppers (late start from seed), zero cabbage (still kind of small - waiting till fall), so these veggies actually are quite a welcome addition. I picked our first corn, and it was a dissapointment. It was from the earliest sun garden planting (golden bantam). Either it wasn't ready yet or this is a strange variety. We used it and a bunch of other random veggies to make some veggie stock.

The work I did last week on the rain barrels seems to be holding up. Instead of securing the spigots with silicone caulk as I had done previously - this time I used that foam insulating sealant called "Great Stuff". So far so good. The barrels are all full and holding their water with no visible leaks. Some of the barrels fill much faster than others, which I can't quite figure. I guess it has more to do with the roof and downspout placement than it does with the barrels, but I does always surprise me how slowly some fill (including my double-stack).

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