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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Garden Delights

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

Nevermind putting the garden to bed in October. I'll be harvesting root vegetables, like these turnips, through February. Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jessica Walliser
Nevermind putting the garden to bed in October. I'll be harvesting root vegetables, like these turnips, through February.

I'll be busy cleaning up the garden soon enough, but in the meantime, my family and I have been enjoying the last few ripe tomatoes and peppers. The basil has survived some recent cool evenings thanks to a blanket of row cover.

I still have lots of carrots and beets in the garden, and I suspect we won't be eating them all before the garden gets put to bed for the season. So I'm heading to the feed store for a few bales of straw. In previous years, I found that if I layer 4 to 6 inches of loose straw over my root crops, I'm able to continue harvesting well into the winter.

Two years ago I was picking turnips in February because they were snug under their straw blanket.  The carrots are the most frost-sensitive of all the root crops I grow, so they usually turn to mush by the middle of January if I don't harvest them. But the beets, turnips, celeriac and parsnips can continue to be harvested until they are all eaten, often sometime in February. I simply lift up the straw, dig out what I need and then put the straw right back on.

And thanks to Niki Jabbour, a garden writer friend in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener (Storey Publishing, 2011), I sowed a bunch of late-season lettuce, tat soi (an awesome cold-hardy green) and spinach and have those seedlings snug under a double layer of row cover. I'm shooting to have fresh salads through most of the winter if I play my cards right. Actually, it seems that I'm not really going to be putting my garden to bed at all this year—instead I'll keep it going as long as possible. How about you?

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Autumn Garden Delights

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Reader Comments
Thank you, Hobby Farm Editor(s?). Appreciate the response! Did get to navigate a little more on this web-site and found the Editors & Contributors link on the bottom. Quite impressive credentials you all have!
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 10/11/2012 5:22:53 PM
Hi Dante,

The blogs, like all of our articles are interactive, and if you post on older posts, we'll still try to answer your questions. Thanks for asking!
Hobby Farms editor, Lexington, KY
Posted: 10/11/2012 6:05:11 AM
I noticed that your "subjects" (i.e., Autumn Garden Delights, Pulling Potatoes, Garden Rehab, etc.) are dated and linked. Do you go back to those "subjects" for any post comments? Are you alerted if anybody happen to post a comment in that area? Sorry, I'm new to the Hobby Farms blog section and posted/send comments to a "subject" dated back to, say, before June 2012. I don't know if this blog is interactive or, one sends a comment and leave at that. Hope you have a good winter and appreciate your time.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 10/10/2012 7:35:23 PM
Thank you for replying! PA has almost a similar climate to New England. If anything the Boston area is probably slightly warmer because of the ocean breeze. At the moment I'm keeping a wide open ear for the coming of frost. Not that I'm anxious to see it's arrival. I just don't want my dwarf cannas get killed by frost, again!, along with my scented geranium and angel's trumpet. Thanks again and will keep visiting your blog.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 10/8/2012 9:16:48 PM
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