Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Winter garden already?

I am so glad Fall is here. This week in Oregon the weather is getting a little colder and I am dreaming of hot soups and hot chocolate. In the garden its getting not so pretty because the summer growing season is coming to its end. Each week I go through and compost plants that are not producing anymore. My handy Northwest Garden Guide (available locally at New Seasons) tells me I need to start planting for the winter garden.  Why do I love this book so much? Well I could go on and on but its basically gardening for dummies. This book is well worth the $14.95 price tag for gardening goofs like myself. This book includes a detailed monthly gardening calendar that shows you what's happening in your garden through the seasons and when to plant vegetables, herbs and flowers. Here are more goodies.

-Maritime Northwest Climate Zone Map
-Techniques to extend the growing season
-Vegetable, herb and flower variety recommendations
-Month-by-month gardening tips
-Beneficial insect identification
-How to beat common plant diseases organically
-Getting organic outside the garden
-Ideas for gardening with children
-Seed and compost resources

Need I say more? Go grab this book for yourself!

My second crop of beans are doing very well.  My first crops were grown specifically to put in the freezer so we could enjoy these beans all winter long.  We have about 15 pounds of beautiful burgundy, scarlet and blue lake beans.  This crop will be for eating fresh each night and sharing with everyone.  Just yesterday I was able to pick about 4 pounds of beans which I donated to a local senior center that distributes food to locals.  I was also able to give some to my neighbors Jim and Hazel (HI!!!!) who we love dearly.  They are allowed to pick anytime they want and take anything they want. 
For some reason the big black bumble bee's LOVE my bean flowers and do not like when I'm picking them.  I have to be real careful not to make them mad. Sorry bumble bee!
I also have a few second crops of burgundy bush beans.  These are my favorite because of how beautiful in color they are.  My kids love them and call them magic beans because when we cook them they turn green.  Another great reason I love them is that you can plant them pretty much anywhere.  I usually plant them randomly in flower beds, along walls, and just about anywhere.  They are a small plant that gives and gives.
I also planted yellow wax beans for the first time this year.  I would recommend these for people who love a mild flavor bean.  They add such beautiful color to our meals so these will be in my garden from now on. 

My tomatoes are still giving even in September.  This is a speckled Roma plant and I cannot wait to see the end result.  I had way too many starts and instead of just throwing them out I decided to plant them everywhere in hopes of maybe getting something from them.  Looks like I will!

Kale is a favorite of my girls so I decided I would go kale crazy.  I planted them in pots...

In anywhere and in between that I could stuff them....

and anywhere I pull a plant I toss some kale seeds in.  Kale grown in your own garden is so much better than anything I have found in stores.  So tender, so flavorful and can be used in so many ways.  Kale chips will be requested from my girls but I dream of kale in soups. Yummy!
This has nothing to do with the winter garden but I wanted to show you something that makes me smile each day.  Fred Meyers was having a 50% off plant sale and I picked up two jasmine plants for only $10. One plant had a small starter so I'm actually getting 3 plants. What a deal! These beautiful plants were in tiny tiny pots and the poor plants were so root bound. They only had 2 blooms because of this.   I quickly separated the start from one plant then transplanted all 3 into very large pots and watered well.  I don't want to plant them into the ground until I find a perfect spot for them.  My goal is to plant them near a window so the beautiful smell will come right into my home.  They will live in the greenhouse this winter if it gets too cold.  I think they were thanking me by giving me such beautiful flowers this week.  Your welcome!

Here is a list of things you can plant this month here in Oregon and Washington.

Sow Outdoors

Carrot Family-cilantro, chervil

Mustard Family-arugula, cabbage(for spring harvest), first early market springtime.
Cress-broadlieaf, landcress
Mustard-gai chi, giant red, green in snow, green wave, mizuna
Radish-misato flesh

Beet Family
Spinach-winter bloomsdale, giant winter, skookum, tyee

Sunflower Family
Endive-frisee, green curled, perfect, tres fine maraichere (often damaged by winter weather but some still try)
Lettuce-bronze rodin, brune D'Hiver, little gem, perella red and green, rougette du midi, rubens red, winter density

Late September (all overwintering)

Carrot family-caraway
chervil-brussels winter
sweet cicely
Grass Family-gramineae
Overwintering Grains-barley, rye, spelt, tritcale, wheat

Mustard Family brassicaceae
arugula, rustic arugula sylvatica
mustard-green in snow, green wave, mizu-na
radish-misato rose flesh

pea family fabaeae
peas, snow-chinese snow
fava beans-aprovecho select, aquadulce, banner, sweet lorane

beet family chenopodiaceae
beets-chioggia, lutz green leaf, winterkeeper, yellow intermediate mangel
spinach-winter bloomsdale, giant winter, tyee

sunflower family compositae
lettuce-brune d'hiver perella, red tinged winter, rubens red romaine, winter density, winter marvel

pea family fabaceae
peas, snow:chinese snow

grass family gramineae
overwintering grains-barley, rye, spelt, triticale, wheat

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