Hello kitchen gardeners,
Fall is quite a busy time in the kitchen garden! Especially since we have had those mild conditions lately, it seems like we could continue gardening forever this year and there is always something to do. A bit overwhelming at times, right?! That's why I thought it's about time to give you some tips about what to do in the fall garden. 1) Harvest: The best harvest time is in the morning, after the dew has dried off. Your vegetables are tastier, best hydrated and will stay fresh for longer. Especially your cool season crops like broccoli, parsley and pac choi might have gotten another growing boost lately. You can easily store any over-produce in the freezer for the winter to come. Tipp: You can keep your carrots and parsnips in the ground and harvest them as you need them. If it gets below freezing, add a good layer of organic straw as insulation. 2) Save seeds: A lot of our favorite companion flowers are going to seed now: marigold, nasturtium, coreopsis, zinnia, flax, late sunflowers... It's so easy to save your own seeds for the next season: > You might want to go into your garden on a dry day after all the dew dried off. > Bring some little cups and look out for brown dry former flower heads. > Just pick them off the stem with your fingers and collect them in a cup. > To make sure all the moisture is gone and the seeds won't get moldy, let them get completely dry in the house for another day or two (ideally spread them out on some newspaper). ! Have a look at these pictures to see how easy it is to save the seeds of flax (beautiful and delicate blue flowers, flax seeds are also good in your muesli or in bread):
3) Prepare for frost and get your covers ready: Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Broccoli, Lettuces, Pac Choi, Brussels Sprouts, Kale - they are all fine with -1 or -2 C without being covered. The same accounts for the carrots, kale, radishes, mustards or beets. But if it gets much colder, we better have some frost protection ready for our plants (if they've not been harvested yet). Check out our blog post about the possibilities of frost protection: www.mynordicgarden.ca/blog 4) Take down your irrigation system: Did you have some drip irrigation running in your kitchen garden this year? Now is the time to take it down, let it dry and store it over the winter. You can reuse most parts again next year! 5) Sow some flowers: You don't have to wait until spring to sow your favorite flowers. In fact, a lot of flowers, especially native plants, prefer to be sown directly in fall. Some seeds (like milkweed) actually need to get exposed to frost to germinate. If you direct sow them in fall, the weather does it automatically for you. These are some flowers, you can easily sow now: larkspur, milkweed, some poppies, violas, forget-me-not. 6) Plant garlic: Are you looking for some natural pest and disease repellent? Plant some garlic this fall and you will be ahead of the game. And besides that, you will have your own fresh organically grown garlic for your meals next Summer. 7) Take care of your soil: If you've already harvested everything and you don't intend to grow throughout the winter, you can still do something in preparation for next year. Add at least 3inches of good organic compost to your beds and mix it in a little into the surface. Over the winter the microorganisms in the soil will do their magic and you'll have perfect planting conditions next spring. But make sure to cover your empty beds! Bare soil will loose a lot of it's goodness, so get your hands on some mulch (ideally organic straw) and put your garden to rest.
Fall and Winter is the perfect time to plan your kitchen garden for next year. Don't wait until the spring rush! Better book your consultation now and have an early kitchen garden start next year > www.mynordicgarden.ca/services See you soon and Happy Gardening!
Ines & Eric