Fall garden update

Fall gardenA few weeks ago, I planted several types of vegetables in one of our raised beds. My goal was to extend the season by having a fall garden.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never done this before! Usually, by the time we get killing frosts — generally in mid to late September — I’m ready to be done with veggie gardening. I always enjoy having a little break from it over the fall and winter, which helps me renew my excitement for the next garden season.

But it really seemed like something I should start doing so I went for it. I planted lettuce, spinach, bunching onions and carrots. They’re all doing great so far. There are also a bunch of volunteer dill plants, which I’ve let grow because it’d be fun to have some fresh dill every now and then.

Fall gardenI covered the bed with floating row cover, which is a thin woven fabric that provides plants with a few extra degrees of frost protection as well as creating a physical barrier to keep insects out… not that insects are much of a problem this time of year.

About a week ago, I decided the temperatures were getting way too cold for the row cover to be of much help so I also placed some clear plastic over the bed (see photo at right). It seems to be working well so far because all of the plants look terrific.

I have three concerns with my fall bed: 1) you can’t see what’s going on in the bed because of the 2 covers over it, 2) the soil is currently very moist since it rained before I put the plastic cover on, but will it need to be watered from time to time? and 3) will rodents like field mice or voles discover the bed and take up housekeeping under the covers?

But on the positive side, we are still harvesting fresh lettuce and spinach every few days. The bunching onions are getting close to the size of scallions so I just might pull it off! I don’t know about the carrots, though. The plants are very healthy and getting a bit stocky but I don’t know when the plants will shut down for the winter. We’ll see if they’re able to produce small carrots for us. I’ll keep you posted on that.