Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Garden Planting

Have I mentioned homeschooling takes up a lot time?  Homeschooling takes a lot of time. 

A week ago, we got the fall garden planted though, so an update is overdue!  There isn't much to see yet, but I've got to have the before pictures so I can look back in a few weeks and see how much everything has grown.

The right side of the garden.  First are the strawberries from last year.  They have grown a lot and put out new shoots.  We'll help them through the winter and hopefully they'll produce well enough next year to make some jam.   The second bed has some tiny cabbage plants of questionable health.  I'm not real sure they're going to survive transplant.  The third bed has carrot seed and onion seed.  We plant onion seed very densely now, then early next year the bulbs can be dug up and spaced out to grow full sized onions.  The fourth bed has green beans.  There is canteloupe in the fifth bed and pumpkin in the sixth.  

Over on the left side, we have summer squash in the first bed, green beans in the 2nd, cauliflower in the 3rd, and broccoli in the 4th.  The 5th bed is empty and the 6th has lingering chili pepper plants.

Remember what our sweet potatoes started out like?  Here's one of the slips back in May:

Now they have really taken off. The vines have spread out and put down roots over a large area. 
We even dug up our first sweet potato this week.  We saw it poking up out of the soil, so we ahead and dug around to see what things were like down there. I've read up on sweet potato harvesting at Mother Earth News.  You have to leave the potatoes outside to sun dry for a few hours, then store them for about a week and half to cure.  This makes them sweeter and heals any damage from harvest.  I've read sweet potato yield around here is about 16,500 pounds an acre, which would translate to something like 15 pounds if we really have potatoes under all those vines.  We shall see what we really get!

Over in the weeds, we have some volunteer cucumbers coming up.  That broad leafed sprout right in the middle is a cucumber plant.  There are others in the area too.  I'm thinking I left a few cucumbers out there and they just self planted.  I doubt they'll get anywhere before winter hits, but I'm leaving them alone.

We tried to focus on things we would eat fresh this season.  I feel like we've really let too much garden food go to waste lately.  I'm avoiding adding up how much money we've spent versus how much food we've eaten.  I feel like we utilize the fall garden foods better, plus they're cheaper to grow because we don't have to water as often. We have harvested over 100 pounds of food so far this year though.  There's still a chance we'll reach our goal of 150 pounds for the year!

I'm looking forward to harvest time again.  Gardening is always more exciting when you're harvesting!


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