Back in January I planted up the salad table my husband had made for me for Christmas, with seeds of lettuce, kale, pak choy, and other greens -- they germinated, made it through a few freezes (with a cover), but then just seemed to sit. The little seedlings stayed small and soon the seeds planted in the open garden in March far surpassed them. The salad table, planted with seeds in winter, in potting soil on hand with little amendment, was a failure.
So, now it is time to see how it does for an "autumn/winter season" (rather than "winter/spring"). This time, with better soil and soil amendments, I overfilled it to accommodate settling, and planted starts from a local store -- lettuce and pak choy.
The photo above was taken shortly after planting about 2 weeks ago. The photo below was taken yesterday:
The plants seem to be thriving and look pretty good.
I am hoping that it will be easier to keep the lettuce producing here than in the main garden through the winter -- and easier to pick from, as it is conveniently right outside our kitchen door.
Over by the main garden I have a pot planted with stir fry greens and another with chard, both of which were from seed. Since they are in pots I can move them to heat islands around the house and driveway if we get a severe freeze. I'll be taking a harvest of the stir fry greens this week, cutting about an inch above the soil, so they can grow back for another harvest in a few weeks.
I also have broccoli plants tucked in corners in my various garden beds. Last winter was so mild the broccoli grew throughout the entire winter, uncovered! I wished I had planted more -- so this year I have quite a bit. Since the cabbage moths aren't about in the winter (or scortching heat!), the harvests are much better here -- even if we get severe freezes the broccoli will soldier on if I remember to give them a little cover.
I wasn't able to plant malabar spinach this spring, but I had one plant come up from self-sown seed very late this summer. It really is not enough to get much of a harvest from, but it is making berries so hopefully they will ripen and seed themselves and I will get a good stand next summer without having to locate and purchase seeds or starts (neither of which I was able to find locally this year).
So, the seeds are planted and germinated, baby plants are snuggled into their beds, I have row cover ready for the winter -- autumn is more than the metaphorical "second spring when every leaf is a flower" (Albert Camus), but is literally another spring for the gardener.
Linking to Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage