Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall seeding

On Sunday Henry and prepared the garden bed for the fall, which mostly involved weeding bermuda grass (the bane of every central Texas gardener), adding mulch, and creating short rows to help capture water.

I had high hopes when we started the morning that I would be able to get all of the bermuda out by the roots and would never see it again.  What was I thinking?!  Having a raised bed makes this process exceptionally difficult.  The bermuda sets up camp just under the frame so its roots are protected--making it nearly impossible to get the whole plant out (one of the many reasons I never want to garden in a raised bed again).  In fact, in trying to get the bermuda out, you end up breaking the rhizomes, which makes more bermuda (just like a hydra).  I admire the grass for its ingenuity; it truly is a success story of evolution and has perfectly adapted to its environment.  I like to think of it as a "worthy adversary".  Bermuda, you may have one this round, but the battle isn't over.

Another challenge of my plot is the slope of the land.  For some reason, my bed was created on an incline and the construction of the bed was not altered accordingly.  All spring and summer as I watered the garden, the beautiful compost and top soil would wash away toward the left side of the bed, leaving the right side a dry desert of sand.  This season I am trying a new configuration in order to prevent the good soil from washing away so quickly.  Instead of having one large planting space, I created four rows with three swales between them.  I am hoping that these ditches will help to collect water and soil and keep the nutrients evenly distributed.  I know I am losing a small amount of planting space for the ditches, but it will be worth it if it creates a better environment for the plants.

Today I seeded for the fall.  Here's what I planted:

Row 1: Sage (chives and parsley from the summer are also in this row)

Row 2: Early Wonder Beets and Red Acre Cabbage

Row 3: Purple Top White Globe Turnips

Row 4: Fordhook Chard and Big Seeded Mache

I will add cilantro to Row 1 and Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard to Row 3.  I also want to add Lacitano Kale and will probably squeeze that in wherever there is space once I see which seeds actually sprouted.  I love watching the sprouts come up (assuming they will) and can't wait to dig into the beautiful cool weather crops.

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