Planting the Fall/Winter Garden

by Daisy on 08/26/2013

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At the beginning of August I started sowing one row per week of beets, carrots, endive, and parsnips. I’ll continue with these through September, or until I run out of room, except for the carrots, which keep getting planted until the first week of November.

In a week, I’ll start successive sowings of winter hardy lettuces like Winter Wonderland and Rouge d’Hiver romaines.  September 1, spinach gets sown in flats and the resulting seedlings (fingers crossed) get planted out starting two weeks later.

We want a ton of spinach. We’ve never had enough spinach to feed our spinach-hungry faces. That is one of the holy grails of home gardening I have always aspired to.

Also, in the first week of October, in goes the mache and claytonia, very cold tolerant salad greens.

As I tear out crops which have finished, like the cantaloupes, cucumbers, and watermelon, I top-dress the beds with compost to replenish the soil and start sowing seeds.

For the record, the cantaloupes (Delicious 51) were a mixed bag: I only got about six or seven ‘lopes, two of which were eaten by raccoons, and the rest were pretty bland-tasting. Not particularly delicious at all, but edible.  I’m not blaming the variety, because cultural factors are a part of taste as well as genetics, so I’m sure Delicious 51 is tasty for some folks.

As for the watermelons, there were three. They never got much bigger than cantaloupes and one was eaten by raccoons, one developed a little hole in the bottom which was the entree for ants which ate the center out of it before I noticed, and the third split after a week of rain.

The cucumbers did well, so one out of the three.  I have another bed of cucumber vines starting up where those finished, hopefully I will beat the cucumber beetles and stink bugs to a few actual cucumbers from those new vines.

In other pest news, something is eating my beet seedlings.


I haven’t caught anybody in the act yet. Slugs? Sowbugs? Vampires?

I suppose I will have to start wrestling with row covers if I want to save them. Anybody with row cover advice (best row covers, best way to use them, water over them, obsessively check under them, etc.) please chime in.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cinnamon Vogue August 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Whatever is eating your beets (love beets) Ceylon Cinnamon leaf Oil will get rid of it. Diluted 1% Cinnamon Oil with 99% water will keep all those pest at bay without damaging the plant. And we are willing to send you a free bottle to try. Just email us!! And our Cinnamon Oil has 75% Eguenol which is the magical ingredient that repels all these bugs. Mix in the pump spray ($5 at Home Depot) and just spray a fine mist on gthe leaves.

Kat August 27, 2013 at 7:13 am

Could it be rabbits? The local bunnies love my beet greens, bean shoots, kale, spinach, and lettuce. I’ll be watching for others’ advice on row covers…gotta foil those “wascally wabbits.” At least until hunting season begins!

Daisy August 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Kat–I haven’t seen any rabbits, and I think they would have eaten it ALL up instead of some of it. I’m going with insects still at this point. Just what I need, though: rabbits to go with the raccoons and voles.

cindy August 28, 2013 at 8:23 am

Hey Girls,
Nice thing about Texas living is its always hunting season for vermin: squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and the like. My 410 always works great.
Spreading hair clippings around the outside edges of the garden can help deter the pesky critters or gross as this sounds urinating around it, this is a better chore for the men of the house. Animals go by senses and smell being the strongest, you are marking your territory!

cindy August 28, 2013 at 8:29 am

My Grandmother used Seven Dust around her plants to keep bugs off. or if you don’t want chemicals try Diamascous Earth( know I misspelled this).

Amy August 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

I finally figured out the culprits eating my beet greens were birds! I bought some netting and thankfully they bounced back. The damage to your beets looks similar, so maybe that could be what’s going on.

Elisabeth August 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Our beet seedlings were all devoured as well. I was fortunate enough to be looking at one very closely when it was pulled underground before my eyes!! I dug down and found a gray grub worm. Ugh. They even infilitrated my above ground smart pots. Moths are so smart about where to lay their eggs!!

Daisy August 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

cindy–Worth a try!
Amy–Good detective work. I will be covering everything up soon!

Janet August 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

diatomaceous earth – food grade. This will kill most insects and worms you have while not being harmful to people, pets or the earth. Also not harmful to earthworms. I have used it to to get rid of bed bugs when nothing else worked. This is a website I found with lots of information although you can find many others:

Daisy August 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Elisabeth–Whuuuh?! So not playing fair.

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