Right now I’ve got enough lettuce, beans, tomatoes, leeks, basil, and squash to last me another 3 weeks-tops. Nights are projected to be in the mid-40’s later this week, with highs in the 70’s. My newly planted lettuce seeds are growing quickly in this cooler weather. So are all the remaining cooler crops which I’ve planted. The change in weather has really slowed the summer crops. By the picture you can get an idea of what I’ll be doing this winter in the garden. I’ve got 10 more squares to plant in the next 2-3 weeks and then I’ll be done for the year. After that it’s just a matter of protection and minimal watering for the huge winter harvest season. I doubt it will be as cold as it was last winter so I’m really looking forward to all the great things growing right now. I can’t wait until is snows so I can go and hang out in the garden-with some of the tastiest things around.
I thought I’d leave a quick note on how I store my potatoes to last through the winter months. We always finish them off before the end of winter, but it’s a real bummer to go through your potato bin only to find soft, diseased and ruined potatoes. My method is like everything else I try to do with gardening-quick and simple with a minimum of work. After pulling potatoes from the ground, try to store them at room temperature for 10 days or so to let the skins dry out enough to prevent moisture loss. Your storage area should be protected from light as much as possible or they will develop solanine. You’ll know this by the green coloring on the surface of the potatoes. If you see this be sure to throw the effected potatoes away as they can cause illness. If you’re lucky enough to have a root cellar you can store your potatoes in any crate, bin, or open box not exposed to sun. If not, store potatoes in a cool, dry room where the temperature doesn’t get below 35 degrees. Storing potatoes in cooler temperatures than this increases their sugar and decreases in starch which take away from their storage and cooking qualities. All I use to store my potatoes are a large enough bin to hold them all and shredded paper. I start with paper on the bottom, than add a layer of potatoes, then another layer of shredded paper, then potatoes, etc. I’ll do this until I reach the top of my container and all the potatoes are covered. This works great because they are protected from any sunlight and any excess moisture is absorbed by the shredded paper. I then keep them in our garage. Whenever we need potatoes, it’s an easy thing to go out, dig through the paper, and gather your potatoes. In the square foot garden system, I’ve been able to expect 5 pounds of potatoes per square. Growing 8 squares gives us 40 pounds of them to last-well, as long as we can get them to last. In my next post, I’ll be taking some time to talk about something that I’m getting a lot of mail about-preparing the soil in fall for the spring gardens. It’s what I’ve done for years and it’s worked perfectly. Stayed tuned.
We’ve had a ton of tomatoes this year-probably more than we’ve ever had in the past. It’s a simple task to just go out to the garden, pull a few tomatoes, garlic and basil, and then start cooking. This is a family favorite-margherita pizza. It’s really just a fresh tomato pizza, but it’s one of the reasons we’re so anxious for summer to get here. If you’re interested, I’ve got a great recipe for it. We make ours outside so we don’t even have to heat up the kitchen. You’ll have to buy my ebook to get it, but it you do, you’ll walk away with a lot more than just a great pizza recipe. You’ll learn a lot of tidbits about square foot gardening. You’ll also learn about the two most frequent causes of failure in the square foot garden along with how to make your own 100% organic solutions to eliminate bugs and pests. You probably have most of these items in your home right now. All I can tell you is that these work exceptionally well. In Mel’s first book he says that these homemade remedies “work for some of the plants some of the time for some of the people.” These work. However, I do have to say that I rarely have had any kind of bug/pest problems in my garden. This point will lead me to my next post where I’ll explain why that’s the case with a lot of square foot gardeners. I’m finishing up with my final week of veggie/produce deliveries. It’s a good thing because it’s really slowing down. I do have plans on gardening all winter long. I just want to show that this can be done-pretty easily too! Stay tuned-I’ve been experimenting and learning about a new type of fertilizer-one that you make yourself in your own backyard. It’s really good-I think you’re going to like this.
Today we’ve had wind gusts up to 30 MPH. By tonight that might be as high as 50+ MPH. One year my corn had gotten to be about 4 or 5 feet tall when one of these wind storms rolled through our neighborhood. I returned home from work to find that all my corn was flattened. It was laying on the ground completely destroyed. All that hard work for nothing. It was a real bummer! At that time the corn was looking great-strong, healthy, etc. I vowed to never let that happen again and came up with a way to do it. Even though these aren’t as big as the ones blown over many years ago, some of them are big enough to still get pulled out of the ground because of corns shallow roots. This shows you how to protect your corn in strong winds. I’ve simply taken some posts(left over from an earlier experiment that didn’t work out-never throw anything away)and place one in each of the 4 corners. I then put an additional post on the outside-middle. Then I just stretched some left over nylon netting over the posts until tight. The wind will still blow the corn, but it can’t blow it over. As the corn grows higher, I will put another horizontal piece of nylon netting about 3 1/2 feet from the ground. That way, I have a good, strong anchor to keep all the corn in place no matter how hard the wind may blow. There have been times when we’ve had winds in excess of 70 MPH. When I grew corn during one of those years, it came through the wind storm with no damage at all. I went on to harvest 70+ ears of corn out of this little 4X4′ square foot garden box.
After many months of work it is finally here-my first ebook. I’m not sure I will ever try this again. I discovered that writing is very difficult-at least it was for me. I do, however, think there are some very valuable pieces of information in this. It all started because I was getting a little irritated reading advice being given by other square foot gardeners on the blogs about some of the problems people were experiencing. The problems were all simple things to correct but I thought the information that was given back to people having challenges wasn’t just a matter of being different but wrong. I was thinking about putting together a little 2 page pamphlet that dealt with the common 2 or 3 problems folks were having. They were easy to spot and even easier to correct. As I say in the book however, the need to have the original SFG book is important to serve as a reference guide. I like to think of my book as a supplemental issue. After discussing the common problems that get in the way of a successful square foot garden, the rest of the book is filled with a lot of tips and tricks that I have used over the years. I think it will make you a better square foot gardener. I have been working on this part-the download and pay-pal- for ten hours today and I’m still not fully convinced that it is working properly. I suppose if it’s not I will hear about it. So, I hope you’re interested in buying my ebook. It makes a great gift for a friend or family member who you know loves to square foot garden. And, there aren’t too many gifts you can buy for $6.99 that will provide the satisfaction this will bring. For a review of my book by none other than Mel Bartholomew himself go to http://www.melbartholomew.com/mels-book-review-the-wealthy-earth/. Enjoy…Jim