The Fall Garden: Decisions, decisions.

22 09 2008

Earlier this year, I ordered shallots and two kinds of garlic to plant this fall.  Now, the question is, giving my limited space and the fact they will not finish growing until midsummer next year, how much space do I really want to dedicate to shallots and garlic.

This gets back to the question about what to grow.  I use piles of garlic every year.  If I grew garlic successfully, there is no way it would go to waste.  At the same time, I garlic is relatively inexpensive.  Shallots, on the other hand, are not.  I’m not sure why shallots are so much more expensive than garlic, but I tend to stave off buying them except for holiday occasions.  I wish this was not the case.   Today I planted ten shallots in the space where the pak choi had been growing.   Each shallot should give me 6-10 new shallots.  As a result, if none of them spoil and all of them grow reasonably well, I should have 60-100 shallots next year.  That would be pretty darn good, even if I save several for seed.  In theory I might not have to buy shallots again!

The question, then, is what I do with the remaining half pound of shallots and the two packages of garlic that I have.  The tomatoes will be coming out, and I could plant two rows of something there.  I also want to take out one row of chard, which would give me three rows.  The question is whether I want to dedicate that much of next year’s gardening space to garlic and shallots.  I’m going to wait another week or so before I start ripping things out.  Decisions, decisions.

On a happy note, back in March and again a few months later, I put down a couple of inches of composted horse manure.  When I turned the soil before putting the shallots in, I was very pleased with the condition of the soil.


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The Fall Garden: The Greens

22 09 2008

I have much-neglected about writing about the fall garden, which is really too bad.  It’s doing shockingly well, too well, perhaps.

Back in August, I put in some baby pak choi, cabbage, and kale starts.

The pak choi grew at ridiculous rates.

I hadn’t planned on eating any of it by now, but two of the five plants were about to bolt, so I ended up having to pull them out!   I used 1 1/2 heads for a stir-fry.  Tonight, I’m going to try using the leaves from one or two in a vegetable soup in place of spinach.  The leaves are surprisingly spicy compared to the baby pak choi I’ve bought at the market.  I think it must be a different, stronger-flavored variety.

I put in six Red Express cabbages.  I think they may be growing too fast:

The goal was to get them big enough to surive being frozen out, then have them head up in the spring.  This is one of the smaller ones.  I’ve read that if they’re too big going into spring, they’ll bolt rather than head up.  I really didn’t expect them to grow this quickly.

Meanwhile, there is kale to be eaten, and I haven’t even begun to think about what to do with that yet:

Here is the chard AFTER the two major haircuts over the last few weeks.  It looks like there will still be plenty of meals coming our way.