Vegetable gardening newsletter #22

Hello, Gardening at this time of year is much slower than when we plant in the spring time. We have less problems with weeds, but more problems with slugs and other pests who are looking for a tasty treat to eat. You can leave your floating row cover all the time if you are having a problem with pests. You can weight it down with stones or bricks to make sure it doesn’t blow away. We will not be receiving any rain in the next week or more. Make sure to keep up with watering! Make sure your Zucchini or Kale leaves are not shading over your new lettuce seedlings. Otherwise they will not grow. If your seedlings were eaten, and you received seeds in the mail to replant, sprinkle the seeds into the empty spaces in your garden. As the seedlings grow to 3 or 4 inches, you can harvest the baby leaves for a mixed green salad. If you harvest just the outer leaves, or the whole plant one inch above the soil, it should keep growing so you can get consecutive harvests. Make sure to keep your floating row cover over these young plants so they don’t get eaten again. It seems that we will not have a repeat of last years super hot fall. I remember record warm temperatures right up until Halloween last year. Hopefully the warm sun will stick around long enough to get a good harvest out of the lettuces and root vegetables. We are currently thinking of changes we will make to next years gardens. Lessons learned this year so far: Fall planting needs to be earlier, we will probably come by the last two weeks of August instead of the 1st two weeks of September. There is not enough space in the garden for zucchini! No matter what we try, the plant is just too big for our intensive style of vegetable gardening. Same goes for cabbage and broccoli. This will leave us more room for more peppers and eggplants to have a usable harvest. We will place large stones around the base of the peppers and eggplants. This will provide the roots with extra heat during the night, and have the added bonus of giving you something to step on to help to reach the back row. (That said, it is best to stand in the garden as little as possible to avoid compacting the soil) One of our clients had an excellent idea of bringing a 3′ 2″ x 4″ into the garden to place across the raised bed for something to lean on while working in the garden. If you have any other tips on how we can improve our service, please let me know. We are continually striving to make our gardens as productive and easy to maintain as possible. This includes an excellent customer service and gardening support on my end. I am also working on our catalogue for 2014, so let me know if you had any favourites or if there were varieties that you didn’t like. For next year we will offer an “add ons” list of extras to plant outside of the garden bed. This will include potatoes, asparagus, “brassicas” (broccoli, rapini, cabbage), zucchini, ground cherries and mushrooms! We will also try again to plant carrots in the spring. I believe that with thick sowing and a floating row cover, it would be worth it to try again with carrots in the spring. I am worried that with our early cool weather, the carrots will not have enough time to get very big this fall. Time will tell! Carrots take a long time to germinate, keep the soil wet to help them sprout. It can take 10 – 20 days to germinate, so if you haven’t seen any sprouts yet, they should be coming soon. Once the sprouts are up, you will need to thin them to about 16 plants per square, ideally 4 rows of 4. This means favouring the strongest plants, and pulling out or snipping all the rest. Here is a nice, healthy recipe. Switch out the mustard greens for Kale or Chard from the garden for a delicious treat! Best, Tereska Gesing

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