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end of season questions /1st year observations

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end of season questions /1st year observations

Post  dstubbs on 9/26/2010, 11:23 am


We're quickly heading toward frosty weather here in zone 5, and I'm looking for advice on how to prepare my SFG for the winter. This was my first year SFG'ing. I had mixed sucess. I learned a lot and may do a few things differently next year. My garden is on my roof, which has posed a few challenges.

I have many different veggies and herbs planted. Some did very well (especially the peas and basil), but most has a pretty lackluster performance -- plants but no harvestable veggies. Most were late bloomers. In fact, most of my plants only really got going in the last month, despite planting in early May. I never did get any tomatos, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, etc., although all the plants at least sprouted.

I'm worm composting now. I don't have any worm compost finished enough to use just yet, but should have in a month or so I think -- should I put it on my SFG before putting it to bed for the winter, or is it better to let the worms keep working it through in my indoor worm composter and use it in the spring instead? Does compost lose nutritional value over time? Is it harmed by freezing?

Which veggies can I keep in the ground after the frost hits? Are there any plants that might do well if I transplant to indoor containers and then replant outdoors in the spring? Should I plan to tear out all my plants and cover the garden before the snow falls? Which veggies are perennial and can they stay out there over the winter?

Thanks for all of your ideas and advice!

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Location : Saint John, NB (zone 5)

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Re: end of season questions /1st year observations

Post  Old Hippie on 9/26/2010, 11:55 am

Hi Stubbs. Nice to see another Canuck posting. I get kind of lonely, although I do know there are more of us around.

Sorry to hear your garden didn't produce as well as you had hoped but keep the faith. Next year you can put all the lessons you learned to good use.

Most veggies that I grow have to be dug each fall....tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, beans, radishes. A lot of herbs can be dug up and taken indoors for the winter so you have fresh herbs all winter. Try with a small piece of each one to see how they do for you. Oregano, sage, thyme and marjoram are all perennial in my zone 3b garden. Some things that might be perennial in warmer zones are not here unless I take them in for the winter. Carrots can be left in the ground for a few weeks after frost, but are best dug before the ground freezes hard. I have been doing some reading and found out that some things like carrots can be seeded in the fall for an earlier harvest next year so I am giving that a try. Apparently you need to sew them a bit thicker than you would in the spring due to losing some over the winter. Some things, reseed themselves if they go to seed in the garden...spinach, radishes, lettuce, dill, borage are some that have for me.

I haven't done any worm composting, but I do have a couple of compost bins. I know that the rain can leach a lot of the nutrition out of the compost as it sits so I try to keep mine covered with a tarp. As far as I know, it should be okay if it freezes though. I take most plants out of the garden and put them in the compost so as not to give bugs as place to hide over the winter except for the ones that are perennial. Up until the ground freezes I chop up kitchen compost and dig it in deep to add more nutrients to the soil. Mine is an in ground SFG though and doing this gives the worms lots to eat over the winter.

Some people talked in another post of covering their blocks for the winter. I have never done that and am wanting to find out more about that and the reason behind it. Perhaps it is different if you have a completely contained square in the traditional SFG box than my in ground ones.

Anyway, these are just some things that work for me. Probably other people in similar zones to you will have better advice than I have. Best of luck to you.

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