I have been busy getting the kitchen garden ready for winter. We have just had ten days of rain so it’s not been good gardening weather but stuff has to get done. From planting garlic, broad beans and getting the harvest in, there is so much to do. Composted leaf mulch is being placed on empty raised beds to enrich the soil for next season.
I am so glad I did some garden planning back in July. I now have a few plants in the garden that I will be able to harvest. In August I planted peas, cosmos, kale and a blend of salad greens. I planted seeds from West Coast Seeds called West Coast Market Blend. It includes curly endive, red oakleaf lettuce, green escarole, blonde chicory, arugula and chervil. This is the third crop this season and it germinates quickly so you can harvest the tender leaves for salads.
You would never know it was fall by looking at the kitchen garden bed above. In August I planted some peas and Cosmos in this bed and they are thriving. It’s great to have flowers for cutting at the end of October. The peas are grown mainly for their green shoots which I will add to salads. Some pods have formed but are small and will not mature before frost arrives. The crazy plant in the foreground is holy basil. Its become the hardiest basil to grow. With temperatures dropping to 2C last week, this basil didn’t flinch. I am drying it to use as a tea.
This is a pretty double flowering Cosmos, isn’t it? I will grow this again in the spring.
This fall I am growing crops under a plastic hoop house. Using pvc piping to form hoops over the raised bed and attaching some heavier plastic, I should be able to harvest winter crops all winter long. I garden in zone 8 and we may get a few centimeters of snow but not enough to cave in this plastic hoop house. I have one side left open so air can get in and it allows me to harvest this way. When frost is predicted I will drop this side down to keep the plants protected from the cold.
The Pac Choi ‘Ching Chiang’ is liking its new home in the covered bed. This is the first time I have grown it and its looking delicious already. I will use this for stir fries and soups. Of course I may eat it raw as I like most vegetables that way. Pac Choi is a cool season crop and is best planted in early spring or from July to September. I started my plants in August in the greenhouse and they were planted outside in September. I will most likely harvest the winter planting as a cut and come again crop.
Another crop I have in the covered bed is a mustard known as Red Kyona Mizuna. I can’t wait to harvest the feathery leaves for my salads. Mizuna can be grown in early March to late April and again from late July to early September. It is said that with protection mizuna will produce all winter long. I also have Avon spinach, Winterkeeeper beets and chervil growing under the covered bed. I hope to harvest beet greens for salads. I actually prefer them to lettuce. Chervil is underrated and should be grown more often. This finely textured herb has leaves that taste like licorice and add a lovely punch to a salad.