Friday, October 17, 2014

Small Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency - Plant A Garden

So right now, it's October and here in Sacramento, it's not hot and not cold, just a kind of in-between. It doesn't feel like fall quite yet though, since up until now, we've had some really hot weather and this drought has been clutching our state in a vise-grip.

Garden-wise, I planted a bunch of seeds, but the only things to have come up are a couple of swiss chard plants and some peas. As for the old garden, all the squash has died out, and the tomato plants have slowed their production, but are still yielding up some tiny tomatoes. The wax pepper plant is doing well and I just picked a few, and I have another pepper that's just now starting to take off.

That being said, gardening where I'm at is no simple task. There's hardpan everywhere, and when I first got my house a couple years ago, the backyard was a barren desert. At least I get a good amount of sun, and I'm hoping that the SMUD shade trees I got will take off, and provide some cover back there.

So how do you garden in hardpan? Well, the simple answer is that you don't. With my starter garden, I dug into the hardpan, shoveled the dirt out, and filled the sunken space with planting soil. With garden #2, on the opposite side of the yard (where the swiss chard and peas are), I tried a different approach, creating raised beds and planting on top of the hardpan. Both methods seem to have worked thus far.

Still, winter approaches, and you can't plant a garden in winter, right??? Wrong. You can, you just can't plant the variety of foods that you can in spring and summer. In winter, you can plant lettuce - and there are different varieties of lettuce, too. Last year, I planted a patch of purple lettuce and it was my favorite.

Please note that the photo is not from my garden, unfortunately. But I'll have some original pics soon.

The veggies you can plant in winter are: garlic, leeks, onions, radishes, lettuce, peas, potatoes, chard, spinach, rhubarb, bok choy and kale.

So start planting your winter gardens! A garden is a great way to get some fresh food and to save money.

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