Well, the fall garden turned out pretty great all in all. It was my first one, so it’ll only get better from here.
Here is an update on my plants and a summary of the things I learned along the way.
All the broccoli plants did amazingly well. The side florets also grew and we got to eat those. The ones we didn’t eat soon enough turned into pretty yellow flowers and we used them to decorate our house.
Tip: Don’t get greedy and wait for the broccoli to get huge before picking it. If you wait too long, it’ll flower and then you won’t get to eat it at all.
A while ago, we planted regular carrots and baby carrots. These all came from different rows (which we didn’t label), so I don’t know which ones are supposed to be small and which ones aren’t. Either way, these are the most bizarre looking carrots I’ve ever seen! I think they’re adorable, but so strange. Perhaps this is because the soil was too hard and they had nowhere to go. Maybe they hit rocks and did a weird zig zaggy thing. Maybe I pulled them out way too early. Or maybe this is just what non genetically modified carrots are supposed to look like. Anyway, who knows. Weird.
Tip: Make sure the soil for root vegetables is nice and mossy. Remove all rocks. Be more patient?
The beets turned out great, although a few popped out of the ground prematurely. I wasn’t sure if I should replant those one or just dig them up. I just dug them up – they were good. All the beets were different colors – pink, red, yellow, orangeish. Pretty!
Tip: I planted the seeds in little clusters, then thinned them out once they started to develop foliage on the top. They were much happier once I did that and were able to grow bigger because they each had more space.
Spinach was slow to grow because I didn’t plant it in a very sunny place. It’s finally getting pretty big, although not as abundant as I would have liked.
Tip: Pay better attention to sun patterns before planting.
Some of my cauliflowers were very happy.
Other cauliflowers were not. They developed an odd looking mold and I had to put them straight into the compost.
I read to cover the cauliflower heads by tying the leaves together so they don’t get sunburned. I covered a few and left the others to brave the weather. A few of each developed mold, although I think the covered ones were worse. Not sure which is the best method.
Tip: If very sunny, cover (to prevent sun damage)? If cloudy and rainy, uncover (to avoid trapping too much moisture)?
Lettuce (and accidental Kale)
Lettuce is very easy to grow. I grew it last summer and had no problems. I grew it this winter and had no problems. The only issue was that we accidentally dropped kale seeds on top of the lettuce, then the kale plants grew to be huge and shaded the lettuce so much that a lot of it wilted.
Tip: Lettuce can be grown year round, but it doesn’t do well in extreme temperatures – if it’s too hot, it’ll wilt. If it’s too cold, it’ll freeze. I heard that it’s actually a good idea to plant kale seeds around your lettuce – just do it in a more deliberate, controlled way.
Chard was very easy to grow. One half of the row was in the shade, while the other half was in full sun. The plants in full sun shot up so quickly, while the ones in the shade were slightly stunted.
Tip: No tips really. Grow Kale! Grow it in full sun.
Miguel’s mom planted gourds last year and she gave me some seeds to plant in the spring. I just planted some along the fence, but then forgot that’s where my dog likes to stomp around everyday. Stupid me – I’ll have to plant more somewhere else.
Hopefully soon they’ll look like this:
Tip: Think about traffic patterns before planting.
My orchid was a huge success! When my grandparents gave it to me last year, it had one flower on it…but it quickly fell off and we didn’t have much hope that it would flower again. I put it in my kitchen window so it got indirect sunlight and so I’d remember to water it. I watered it just enough for it to stay moist, and I waited for a very long time. Now it has three new flowers on it (the other two have popped open since I took this picture). I gave them all names – Olivia, Penelope, and Anabelle.
Tip: Miguel’s mom loves orchids and has them all over her house. Her tip for me was to never move it. She said once it adjusts to a new spot, it will grow….you just have to wait…a while. Also don’t put orchids outside. In less you live in a tropical environment, they don’t like it.
My biggest tip is to garden. It’s fun and you’ll appreciate your food more.