Winter On My Mind
feel a little guilty writing about winter garden planting, when so many of you are not able to get in your garden yet. But note I said a “little” guilty. I can’t change the weather, and many of my winter harvest crops are planted right alongside or maybe a little before summer and fall crops. If I consult my past garden records, I see that many times I am planting the root crops for the milk cow in mid-May. So I’m not too far off in getting those crops in the ground now. In garden reality I have to go more by my soil than a calendar. My soil says plant.
This year I am going to skip the whole mangel cow fodder growing. While mangels sound kind of romantic and old-fashioned to grow, they are just too difficult for me to manage. They freeze, the voles love them, and they give my cow the shits. The last reason is reason enough to leave those for people who like to garden and write magazine articles. Of course, I could dig them all, store them and let them mellow and not have the messy problem of squirty cow caca, but I’m not into the whole root cellar thing anyway. My unfair advantage in root crop storage is that I live where I can leave them in the ground. So this year Jane will only partake of parsnips and carrots, both roots that have no side effects on her digestive tract.
Our staple garden is primarily devoted to many row feet of storage crops, or any crop in large quantity. Most years potatoes, corn, winter squash, naked seed pumpkins, house cow roots, dry beans and a row for seed saving make up the mix. It feels like I am ahead of the game getting several crops in the ground in a timely fashion.
We are going into our third month of dry (for us), so I seeded these carrots on April 26th in the hopes that I could capture the available moisture in the soil for germination. The timing was perfect, as I noticed them peeking out yesterday, as I was preparing to plant the parsnips.
My cheater, early garden row for whatever, is usually my seed saving row, many times there is some space for small plantings of fill-in crops. I had planted my parsnips and mangels in February (detailed in this post.) The deer made short,and continued work of any sprout on my mangels, so no seed this year from them. However, they don’t like parsnip tops, so those look to be doing fine. Since I had a nice, clean row ready to go, I planted some other fast growing crops there that will be done at or before the time the parsnip seeds are ready to harvest. I would have loved to plant some peas there, but the deer pressure has increased enough I didn’t risk it.
So I opted for a second planting of beets. They are doing quite well germinating right along with the carrots. Jane may get some of these, but summer time fodder only, if we don’t eat them all.
I succession plant a lot of kohlrabi, it grows fast, needs no protection from insects and we just like it. A lot.
Hiding under here is daikon and Hakurei turnips. They do need protection from insects, but are well worth growing, they grow fast and they taste great as long as you keep the root maggots out.
Looking at the staple garden near half planted and up is a WOW moment for this first week of May. Big Smile.