Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Garden

I thought about waiting until the spring to start a garden at the new house, but with several weeks left until the first frost, I decided to make a go of a fall garden.  I read Square Foot Gardening and was excited to get started.  After running all over town to find the materials (mainly the five different varieties of compost), I got my little garden set up in one afternoon.  (A special thank-you to my mother-in-law, who gave us a raised bed container as a house-warming gift!)
My next problem was finding seedlings.  In the midst of finding and buying a house, I hadn’t started any seeds for a fall garden, and it was a bit too late to start broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage indoors.  I was headed home from a local gardening store when I happened to pass Hartke Nursery.  My parents had bought me and my husband a tree from Hartke for our anniversary (a Japanese Maple, now planted in our yard!), so I had been there once before.  I decided to pull in and take a look around.  I wandered through the rows of plants for sale and happened on a table with fall vegetable seedlings.  They didn’t have many, but they had almost everything I wanted!  I bought a six-pack each of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mixed lettuce, and Swiss chard.  (I would have liked to plant sugar snap peas and spinach, but I’ll get to those next year!)  I got home, popped them in the garden, watered them in, and they have been growing happily ever since.  I fortified the garden against the numerous squirrels and rabbits in our yard with plastic chicken fencing stretched around four metal fence posts, and they haven’t broken in yet.
The founder of this method would tell you that my garden isn’t a “true” square-foot garden because I don’t have dividers marking off each square.  Maybe next year.  I was more focused on getting the plants in the ground!
I should have the first harvest of Swiss chard this weekend.  (I must confess that I’ve never actually eaten Swiss chard before, but it’s so pretty and hardy that I just had to grow it.)  I hear you prepare and eat it like spinach.  I’ll let you know how it is.  The lettuce has been the least happy of the plants; although still growing heartily, some of the plants started to bolt as the temperature climbed back into the 100’s a couple of weeks ago.  I'm so glad we finally seem to be done with the heat!  I’ll post updates on the garden’s progress.  So far, I’m loving this square-foot gardening method!
Is anyone else growing fall vegetables and/or using the SFG method?  What do you think?  Does anyone have a good Swiss chard recipe to share?

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Meredith said...

Hey, Megan. Good to see you blogging again. We used the square-foot gardening method and enjoyed it. We found some things - our peas especially - got overcrowded when we planted them according to the book's recommendations, but the results were good for the most part.

We have a lot of Swiss Chard growing. We like to pick it, wash it really well, and then just cook it up with some olive oil and garlic -- much like spinach. It's best fresh, of course.

Meredith said...

Just saw this recipe on the Washington Post website: