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October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

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October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/3/2011, 12:10 pm

Again, sorry this is late, guys.

I wish I had some pictures to post, but I have had horrible luck this fall. Our weather has been great...once it cooled off. However, my garden has really sputtered. I have also been battling critters like you wouldn't believe, too. These guys have been digging up every seed I plant withing 24 hours of planting. They also trample around all my seedlings. And, of course, my fertilization fiasco didn't help once things did show a few signs of growing. But, here is what I've learned...

- Fall gardening can be fickle. If your summer held on as long and as intensely as ours did, you may not have a great fall harvest. I couldn't get broccoli or cauliflower in the garden because of the heat wave. I just don't have enough time to get them to harvest if I can't get them started in mid-August....which I couldn't this year. We were still fighting 100° temps.

- Seed saving becomes a fairly critical technique for fall gardening. Most retailers don't carry seeds past June around here. So, you have to stock up early, unless you plan to order small amounts from seed catalogs and pay shipping charges. I kept my seeds at room temperature most of the season. I was being a bit lazy because I was staggering my plantings and didn't want to put them in a cooler until I was done with them. Well, my germination rates have plummeted...likely because of this. So, this winter, we study up and don't have this issue again.

- My critter netting failed once the little buggers figured it out. Cheap is NOT the way to go. Everyone is on some sort of budget. MM is expensive to build from scratch. I decided to patchwork some cheaper netting until next year. It worked through the spring, but was devastated in the late summer. Little rodents chewed through the netting to get inside. Once inside, they wreaked havoc all over the place. I caught a few and now know they are field mice, not chipmunks. So, I can plan accordingly next spring when my budget is refreshed.

Those are a few. Fall is a decent time to reflect on what went right, and what went wrong. Feel free to share!

Here are some things you can be focused on if you are not psuedo-retired for the season as I am. I may get some lettuce, spinach, or radishes in. But, those are about all I have time left to grow. Those to the north are on even shorter time.

In the vegetable garden, we are looking at garlic or shallots for sowing. But, that's about it. You can gamble with a late frost, but that's up to you. You know I like to gamble, so I will likely still get some lettuces in the garden, especially since I don't wait a full 7 weeks to harvest. I start clipping leaves as soon as I can leave two new leaves to grow beyond what I clip.

October is bulb season for most. Daffodils, crocus, tulips, etc, all do well when planted in early to mid autumn. Wait for a decent rainfall to loosen the soil a bit for you and jump on your chance. What a surprise you will have next spring when it's still a bit cool to be digging in the dirt!

You can also move your herbs inside and place them in a sunny window getting at least 5 hours of intense sunshine. They should make it through the winter.

Revitalize your SFG with compost! This can be done just about any time you want. But, if you aren't using your garden right now, there's no time like the PLEASANT!! Throw in that compost (one trowel per square) and give it all a good mix. Hang your grids up, or cut and toss your string, and cover your garden to keep winter blown seeds out. Once the MM thaws in spring, or after you place the black plastic over it, you are ready to plant...in many cases a good bit before your neighbors. Get a head start on those salads you'll be craving. Remember, the early bird gets the worm.

I hope to hear from you all as our gardens wind down. Let's keep the forum hopping throughout the winter. It's surely on it's way. I've already seen snow reports in the upper ski resorts in CO, and I've heard the arrowhead of MN has had it's first dusting, too!

Sad I'm not ready for old man winter. Sad

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Re: October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

Post  stripesmom1975 on 10/4/2011, 3:28 pm

First of all oops, I'm posting under a second account I have. I'm also known as stripesmom. My mistake.

BBG, that is odd about the mice in your garden. We live surrounded on three sides by field and have mice all over the place. They are trying to take over the house and garage now. I have 5 cats that are good micers, but they can't keep up. I've had no problems in my gardens so far though. Have you tried sticky paper? I can't stand the thought of it, but some times, a person has to draw the line with rodents.

My little gardens are doing well so far. Tomatoes are still producing, but not as well as they were. I'm going to remove the little ones to try to get the others to ripen. I can't cut off the tops, because that's where the big tomatoes are. I can't bring myself to stab the roots or withhold water. I may let them just be what they are until the end.

This is a picture of my north garden. Cherry tomato on the right and then 4 jet stars. I've pulled my green beans and planted spinach, a variety of lettuce, red onion and radishes. I just scattered the seeds and decided I'd thin them as we eat them. I did keep my seeds in the fridge in the garage. I used a square ice cream bucket and it worked great. I also had red onion bulbs all summer and kept them in the fridge so they wouldn't sprout till they were in the garden.

This is my west garden. It's pretty shady now as the house's shadow has moved farther across the patio. The tomato plants still have enough sun to get a few tomatoes ripe for me.

The swiss chard grows so well. I wish I liked it better. I do enjoy it for it's pretty stems though and would grow it even if I hated it. Which I don't, it's just not my favorite thing on the plate. The peppers are still doing well. I didn't remember they needed staked until they fell over and started to grow on the ground. I was able to put a couple of tomato cages over two peppers (upside down and tied to the pvc pipe).

I finished another box this past week. It's a 4x8 and was a kit from Menards. It's made of some sort of heavy plastic. I hope it lasts. I plan on using it for all asparagus. I bought a flat last July with the intentions of building a box and planting them then, but we all know how hot it was. Then other things got in the way and I just didn't get around to it. I'm going to plant them today or tomorrow and hope they survive. If they don't, I'll replant in the spring. DH says he'll build a box for me to use for strawberries. I also have plans to build many more boxes before next spring. It's been a fun way to garden and I think productive compared to everyone else in my area. I seem to be one of the few left with a garden around here. When the frost/hard freeze comes, I plan on taking out the peppers and tomatoes and covering the hoops with plastic and possibly tarps at night to keep the temps warm enough for the salad veggies so I an garden just a little longer.


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Re: October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

Post  madnicmom on 10/6/2011, 1:07 am

I'm still going in cincy. I planted a row of beets, radishes,spinach and lettuce. 24 hours later, some critter dug in my beets. Sad radishes and lettuce are peeking their heads thru. My lettuce in the gutter is slow growing like Boffer previously stated in another thread. Carrots/cabbage are going strong but I was forced to put 7 on them, cabbage moths were killing my brussel sprouts/cabbage. Kohlrabi is still coming along but no formation of the veggie yet.

temps this week - high of 81, lows in the 50's. great weather. no rain so I'm back to using city water.

I have a question about hoop houses, aren't the sides to stay away from the plants?

Sorry about your garden BYBG!

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Re: October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/6/2011, 10:07 am

If your plastic covering touches your plants, yes, you lose the insulative properties. Same goes for two layers touching one another as well....they effectively become one layer where they touch.

What I would do is put a second "floating row cover" inside to keep the plants away from the side walls. I would have plants touching the inside layer of plastic, not the outside where temps will be coldest.

You wouldn't even need to anchor the inner layer down because the outer layer would keep any wind away from your inner layer. But, if you must anchor it, a couple of 2 Liter soda bottles filled with water should serve well.

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Experimenting in Michigan

Post  jamesindetroit on 10/29/2011, 1:07 pm

Our garden did fairly well, considering we were battling against reduced hours of sunlight and little south sun. Many lessons learned this year. Most of the beans and cukes were infected with white fungus...oh well, we still got some good sized cukes for awhile.

I have a hoop house over the middle raised bed and am transplanting all the herbs in there. Bringing them in doors is not an option with no south facing windows and a mischievous cat and 9mos old baby !

I was also going to take a shot at planting some carrots and garlic, see how they do with the hoop house and some straw for row cover...

Any thoughts are appreciated!

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Re: October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 10/29/2011, 3:15 pm

Tough call with the carrots. But, chard, lettuce, spinach, and even radishes may suprise you under the hoops.

With carrots, though, you get 600+ seeds in a packet. So, it's minimal risk for a buck 29. I say give it a shot and see what happens.

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Re: October 1st in the Midwest Garden..

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