Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Planting for a Fall Harvest

Whenever I talk to people with the survivalist mentality, they are always interested in learning that I live off grid and raise a good portion of my food. “How did you get so prepared for the coming food crisis?” one person asked with astonishment.

I don’t raise food because of any sense of impeding disaster, but I do think that as our society becomes dependent on fewer and fewer farmers who are based further and further away the population centers that rely on them, we do make ourselves more vulnerable to natural, economic and political disruptions. These disruptions have a way of making people think about where their food is coming from. Recent news on the economy and earthquakes on the East Coast might have you thinking about starting a garden or wishing you had planted a bigger one. Or if you want to do it for any of the many other good reasons to start a garden, it is probably not too late if you start today, especially if you have a cold frame or a green house.

This week I am focusing on my fall vegetable crop. Normally I don’t plant this late, but this year has been exceptionally dry, and the late July planting did not germinate well. Today I planted more beets and turnips to add to my July planting. My July planting of radishes flourished in spite of the heat and drought so I am both harvesting and planting radishes this week. Lettuce and spinach will be planted in the cold frame and greenhouse in September. The arugula that I planted in the spring went to seed; there is wall to wall arugula carpeting in the bed where it was planted. I will be leaving some in the garden and transplanting some to the greenhouse.

As a new experiment for this year I just planted bush beans. I never would have thought of planting them this late, but I get emails from my county extension office that has a gardening timeline for local gardeners. According to the timeline we should be able to plant green beans (bush not pole) and still get a harvest before frost.

If you want to start a fall garden, but you don’t know for sure what will grow in your area, most seed catalogues and many seed packets show maps of the different planting zones and include planting dates for the different zones. You can also check with your local county extension office. Our extension office website has a wealth of information for gardeners.

Enjoy your garden and trust in the Lord for all things, survival or otherwise.

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