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Jul 31, 2022 - 12:55:26 PM
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5998 posts since 8/7/2009

For all my gardening / fiddler friends... how many are planning a fall / winter garden?

I'm fortunate to be living right at the boundary between 7 & 8. Looking forward to more dirt under the nails.

Jul 31, 2022 - 1:30:04 PM
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518 posts since 7/30/2021

I'm afraid that a couple of pots of 'mums is all I've ever tried!
Writing from Zone 7b here...(that means, currently it's like a Sauna out there!)

Jul 31, 2022 - 1:55:40 PM
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630 posts since 6/11/2019

Probably try some more cabbage and some turnips.

Our garden (and everything else) has been burnt up this year. I found out you can water a plant all you want, but if it's constantly sitting in an oven, it's just going to cook like wilted lettuce.

Luckily got some rain this weekend, our first in a month-and-a-half, so maybe it will cool back to normal. Zone 6, but it's real buggy right now. Stuff would get chewed to pieces unless I wait a little.

Jul 31, 2022 - 1:56:08 PM
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2755 posts since 10/22/2007

I'd be happy with a frost anytime. I'm one big walking chigger bite.smiley
Haven't heard the Secadas yet, so it's gonna be a long wait.

Jul 31, 2022 - 4:34:12 PM

5998 posts since 8/7/2009

Depending on what map you look at, some say our area is 8a, but most say 7b. And yes, like you, we have been going through a very hot, very dry spell since early June. But we are getting a lot of rain this weekend. 

Now that I am settling into retirement, I'm thinking serious about planting a the fall / winter garden. I'm encouraged by what I see can be planted in Aug / Sept / Oct.  Some looks like they will survive the winter (unless we get a longer cold spell). 

Our summer garden had mixed results. I think I may have misjudged a few things. I've worked up a good deep layer of compost amendment into the top soil, but we have a fairly hard clay sub-soil. I think the water drains through the top soil quick enough, but the hard pan holds the water below the top soil. Seems like the shallow root crops struggled (beans), and tomato skins cracked, but the squash, cucumbers, and melons have done well. So it seems like maybe there is too much water down deep, but the top soil is drying out too quickly.

So, I'm thinking the sun cooked, and we over watered to compensate - thinking that was the right thing to do. More mulch and maybe a shade cloth would have done better - maybe. The idea would be to keep from having to water so much to keep the top layers of soil moist longer - long enough for the deeper levels to shed / soak up the water. 

Things I expected to do well - didn't. Things I expected to struggle - didn't. hmmm...   But I'm still pleased over all. 

Jul 31, 2022 - 5:31:09 PM
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630 posts since 6/11/2019

I believe the main thing is keeping what I'd call STUFF in the soil. Microbes from compost, and such as that.

20 years ago, when we first tilled our garden (it's an acre or so) after it had lain fallow however many years, we were overwhelmed with vegetable truck.

Now, it is anemic and needs some more STUFF. I will put the leaves from the nearby shade trees in there to rot this fall and maybe call someone with a dumptruck to haul some manure in there.

Jul 31, 2022 - 7:45:57 PM
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13657 posts since 9/23/2009

Good luck with the fall garden, Tony!

I'm pretty much a chigger plus skeeter bitten groundhog at this point, same as Farmer Jones...been hot and wet, then hot and dry, now hot and wet...etc. I'm kinda forced into edible yarding over actual gardening where we live...tiny spot all rock and straight down hill, or up hill, depending on which way you're erosion garlore and not one suitable garden spot. So over these past decades living here I've tried a variety of things and for the past several years edible yard style has worked pretty we generally have beans crawling up the front porch and any flowers are either edible by us or attract pollinators for us and for their own benefit as well...then I figured out a long time ago to grow only one type of greens all summer...and that is ong-choy...or water's not spinach, but related to sweet taters and those greens absolutely love horrible heat do have to keep it moist we've got that stuff for now, had kale before and hope to get time to get cabbage and more kale or collards lots of horseradish and usually I have squash vines crawling down one side of the hill but didn't get to those this year...tons of tomatoes...okra along the front as both an ornate plant along the front by the roadside but also because we love that stuff too...lots of berries down the back hill...etc. Anyhow this year I didn't manage to get as much going as I usually till, no garden spot, just drop seeds where you wanna have edibles just right there in the yard...and hope if you're lucky they drop their own seeds for the next year.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/31/2022 19:46:37

Jul 31, 2022 - 8:19:32 PM

5947 posts since 9/26/2008

Originally posted by farmerjones

I'd be happy with a frost anytime. I'm one big walking chigger bite.smiley
Haven't heard the Secadas yet, so it's gonna be a long wait.

Cicadas have been screaming here in the central portion of Iowa for much of July. Still too hot for much of anything outdoors.

Sadly, no winter gardening for us up here in zone 5. 

Aug 1, 2022 - 6:40:04 AM
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518 posts since 7/30/2021

Your way of gardening sounds relaxing, Peggy!

re Tony: "I've worked up a good deep layer of compost amendment into the top soil, but we have a fairly hard clay sub-soil. I think the water drains through the top soil quick enough, but the hard pan holds the water below the top soil."
Yep got the hard red clay here. I do think that's what happens, even when amended. People here tend to plant things a little "up" for that reason (so roots don't sit in water) see trees, bushes, gardens planted with these big mounds of dirt (because not planted ground-level, they were planted kind of halfway-down and then lots of soil added around).

Aug 1, 2022 - 10:15:37 AM
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5998 posts since 8/7/2009

Peggy - We are no-till, deep mulch, and raised beds. I've also included containers this year. They work well. I would recommend it to folks dealing with different issues (like what Peggy describes).

Most of our beds are "raised" are made from cinder blocks, some 2 high (16"), some 3 (24"). Its a great "no till" garden, but I think one thing I shorted myself on:  with nothing but composted material to fill them up, its missing native soil for minerals, etc. I have mostly composted with leaf mold. Its good for mushrooms, and we have plenty of "critters".  Doesn't dry out too fast, but when it does, its hard to re-hydrate.

We have also planted herbs and vegetables out in our other flower beds (asparagus, carrots, camomile, lettuce, collards, basil, and others).  Next year the sweetpotates have to find a place in the flower beds. They took over the garden last year - and again this year. 

Inter planted and over planted squash with Okra - and they are going gangbusters.

Beans and tomatos - not too well.

I've discovered hammered tree brush (no dyes) for mulching the paths between beds in the garden. Good at controlling erosion, holding water (not washing out), and suppressing the weeds. I'd rather not use wood chips - like a lot of folks suggest. I was using leaf mold for that too, but it would wash out too easily.

Oh my...  eating this year's first garden ripe watermelon this morning.  Soooo good. Giving us a new understanding for watermelon with all the rain lately.

Enough. Easy to see - I'm enjoying myself.

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