Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The autumn garden

It is that time of year when the garden is on the wane. Only a few tomato plants are offering fruit and even those are being handed up with black spots here and there. Those crops that do look toward fall … the kale, Swiss chard, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts and spinach … are still far from their full autumn promise.
I am growing 5 varieties of spinach this fall in the hopes of getting some of it to over winter. The varieties I planted are Space Hybrid and Olympia Hybrid from Fedco; Melody F1 and Nobel from Peters Seed and Research and a Geant d’Hiver from Vilmorin seeds in France. This is the shadiest bed in the garden and getting darker by the day, but maybe next June that will have a payoff.

I have three artichoke plants growing in a bed just outside the north end of the garden. I have two Northern Star and one Emerald, and I will try again this year to overwinter them. They were put in the ground VERY late this year … late June. What I am hoping is that I can surround them with hay bales and cover with some windows I have in the basement. Northern Star, in particular, is reputed to handle northern climates as a perennial. The package says:

The first hardy Green Globe artichoke bred to overwinter and spring harvest in more northern locations. Good uniformity, better than most other Green Globe Artichoke strains. The only selection we’ve tested that has survived sub-zero temperatures without protection. Winter hardiness is a complex matter so we offer this for trial only – no guarantees. May-June sowings will generally produce the following spring (April-June 300 days)

We shall see. This will be my third attempt to over winter artichokes.

The sweet potato vines look strong. Every now and then I will spy a little sweet potato flower. They usually do not show themselves until after Labor Day here. And speaking of vines … the morning glory vine on the gate has decided to EXPLODE with blossoms. That vine has waited all summer to throw out a blossom and now it is festooned.

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