In doing the research for "Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida," I planted some garlic chives. I'd never planted them before and was prepared to be underwhelmed, but not so. They've grown amazingly well, they are evergreen, and we love the taste--both cooked and raw. Plus they are beautiful even after frequent harvests.
I planted some Burpee 'Green Tiger' zucchini in September to see if we could get at least some zucchinis before frost. It's an iffy proposition with the shortening days and fewer squash flowers in bloom. Each female flower in the squash family needs to be visited 8 or 9 times by a pollinator in the one day it's in bloom. I like to give it a go, though, because some zucchinis are better than no zucchinis at all! They will all be killed in the first frost, so this is a temporary pleasure. This green tiger ended up in a stir fry. Yummy.
I planted the sugar snap peas in September as well but they usually do better with frost where only the flowers are hit while the rest of the vine stays green. We are looking forward to these sweet treats through most of the winter. If a really cold snap is predicted, I may throw a tarp or blanket over the tomato cages to protect them. Since they are close to the house, it's warmer there already.
|Green tiger zucchini.||Sugar-snap pea flower.|
Short-day onions are important for success here in the South because we grow our onions straight through the winter when the days are short. So I found Dixondale Farms that specializes in onions. I bought two bunches: one was the Yellow Granex, which is the type most of the farmers around Vidalia, GA plant. Only the farmers within four counties of the town can call their sweet onions Vidalias, but the onions we grow in north Florida can be just as sweet. The second bunch was the short-day sampler with a combination of Texas 1015Y super sweets (yellow), Texas early whites, and red Creoles. With at least 60 plants in each bunch, that's a lot of onions for us, but it was only $3 more for the second bunch.
The bunches were shipped loose in their box, but seemed to withstand the rigors of shipping. The tops were trimmed down to about 4 inches. I planted them 4 inches apart in wide rows and lightly mulched them with pine needles & leaves. 3 days later, after a soaking rain, the plants have greened up and their leaves have already grown beyond their 4-inch trim.
|Short-day sampler onion plants.||After only 3 days and a rain, they've greened up.|
|Granex onions are planted 4 inches apart in 2 wide rows separated by a fallow row. The row next to the house is broccoli in a couple of different stages of growth--I re-seeded when some of the first crop didn't make it.|
|Garlic, black-seeded Simpson lettuce, Swiss-chard & dill, newly planted carrots, onion sampler, fallow row, and another onion row.||Marigolds, lime basil, garlic chives, meadow garlic, and zucchini.|
|Newly hatched turtle in the herb garden.|
I hope you are enjoying the wildlife in your yard this fall. And I wish you great bounty for Thanksgiving and beyond. I am thankful for you, the readers, who share our adventures in and out of the garden.
Green Gardening Matters,