I find it a bit funny to start sharing my harvest Monday of the year this late in the season, especially now that we’ve entered December, Virginia has endured the first few frosts of winter and I have already done my first dark days post. After all, in previous years, despite being apartment bound I have always had something growing on the porch. But then, I started this year a little behind the curve.
At the end of July, a time when most gardens are in full swing and many a green thumb is looking forward to the slow days fall and winter, I was just breaking ground. I finally got off the community garden waiting list and received a well placed, healthy, but neglected plot. The whole thing was covered with weeds, nothing had been planted that season and though a previous owner had laid cloth and built up beautiful soil on top, the ground beneath was all clay and rocks. Aside from a large patch of mint and some pungent lemon herb the plot was gifted with three wood box frames that defined the beds.
Knowing that my new garden enthusiasm could fizzle in the dog days of August I assessed the soil condition (best closest to the entry) and decided to start working at the worst corner and work backwards, figuring that if/when I got tired I already had decent soil I could plant in. Every spare moment I headed to the garden to pull weeds, clear rocks, and begin double digging the beds. I ended up planting fall/winter crops in mid-late August. Below you can see the three beds (here shown with the high hoops installed but not covered).
Straight ahead I planted kale a row of turnips, lettuces, a salad greens mix, tatsoi, and pok choy. I had intended to put second and third to the right but never got back to it. In the far left, the worst rocky corner, I seeded a bunch of Austrian field peas as a cover crop. I will dig it in come spring to put some much needed nutrients back in. It’s a great little corner for a perennial. In the bed on the right are beets, carrots, celery, and onions. Cabbage and broccoli are in the bed on the right, though those have been mostly nibbled by insects.
Since September I have been harvesting a few leafs of lettuce, some kale, and accidentally pulled up a turnip but nothing substantial until today. 4 small carrots, a small turnip (not pictured) that had started to grow above ground where I needed to secure the row cover, a head of tatsoi, 2 big handfuls of lettuces, and 3 handfuls of kale. I was tempted to harvest more but I really want to stretch what little I have into the winter to see how things fare in the cold/snow to come.Not bad for a first winter harvest.