Ordering Fall Seeds 2018
The time has come to think of ordering fall seeds! Can you believe it? I feel like I was just figuring out where to put everything for our spring plantings. It has, though, been a long time since I have really talked deep and dirty about garden planning and such with you. Oh boy. Farming takes up a lot of time. A LOT! I cannot even begin to explain. Yet, even though we have made many mistakes so far, I still don't feel like I have been out in the field as much as I might have had to had I not planned everything out so finely.
You may remember back in the spring me sharing our plot plan and what exactly I was doing to ensure we had enough food not only for every single person in our CSA (about 36-40), ourselves, and our farmer's market customers. It was a challenge! One that involved a lot more math than I had hoped to have to work with. Not my strong suit at all! But it all worked out. Because we've had just the right amount of produce every single time, even with the plants that have failed. We planned around that, added 20% extra to everything. Now I feel like I can base all of our numbers strictly off of beds rather than by individual plants. But we'll get to that later.
Last year, I talked about how to plan a fall garden. Most people believe that they can only plant things in the spring and early summer months to receive a harvest. That is simply not true! Fall plantings are some of my favorites. There are less insect pests to worry about (sometimes) and the weeds are usually taking a break by that time. You get all of your greens back that you were so excited about in spring and lost quickly in the summer heat. I am already excited to have a second round of spinach and radishes! If you'd like my original fall planting guide, click the button below.
The one thing I have noticed so far this year, producing commercially over personally, is that I truly enjoy growing diverse, interesting produce for our CSA. The farmer's market is fun. You get cash flow there, but customers don't like interesting. They like uniformity. They expect the same quality there as they do at the grocery store. That't not to say that the quality of my produce is less than - in fact, I think the opposite most days. Because my produce is unique and different, each piece. That makes it real to me, and it tastes way better than anything from the grocery.
When I was looking through the Johnny's Select Seeds catalog at my choices for a late summer planting and autumn harvest, I decided that diversity for my CSA was much more important, to me and to my members. It has been such a fun thing to give them a new surprise each week! Truly! I bought some funky looking radishes, beets, and carrots. I've learned that large heads of lettuce don't sell as well here, and I don't really love growing them over other greens. I decided to try some baby romaine heads instead along with lots more salad mix.
I bought some new-to-me things as well such as pac choi, Chinese cabbage, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts, and tatsoi. I am excited for that! There are pumpkins growing rapidly now in our patch. They've truly become monstrous; some of the plants are taller than me! I have seen several of our decorative pumpkins doubling their sizes along with new butternut and spaghetti squashes. It makes me excited already to pile them up outside of our General Store, which will be ready just in time for pumpkins!
Planting a fall garden is really a great way to get back in the game if you feel that you didn't perform as well in spring or if you didn't have time to start a garden. Some people only really like things like greens and roots. I have noticed that Iowans absolutely love their roots and brassicas. I cannot keep kohlrabi around here for the life of me! It gets eaten up.
My season in zone 5b for starting autumn plants begins on July 26th this year. That's 12 weeks to the first predicted autumn frost. Eek! I'll be starting broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, and other brassicas then. Wish me luck! We'll also be implementing new growing practices... We might be giving up on no-till for the rest of this season until we can figure out a better method of weed prevention. We ordered some landscape fabric, the commercial kind, to use in the fall beds. I am crossing my fingers that it works for us, and we can continue no till with the fabric!
What are you hoping to grow this fall?