If you read my last post, you will know that I am experimenting – isn’t all gardening experimenting? And that’s what makes it really fun!
About 10 days ago, I planted seeds for broccoli raab, cauliflower, and collards and placed the 4″ pots in a wicking bed. Well, yesterday (at 9 days) I checked them.
The broccoli raab had sprouted, as had the collards. However, the cauliflower was having difficulty. Since the cauliflower was on another wicking raft, I moved it to the raft with its cole buddies. Also, I was told that sometimes it is necessary to top water till fully moist before the wicking is started – sort of like priming a pump.
Here’s a picture of the little seedlings! It’s another 70 degree day today and tomorrow, with temperatures dipping into the 60s in the next couple of days. But still not close to freezing. I’m optimistic that I can grow them to transplant size. Although, in the wicking bed I could easily protect them, while the water reservoir maintains a more constant temperature.
Note the bits of green to the left and barely visible in the middle.
Various planting guides stop at about November, while others continue on through the winter, recommending what plants can still be seeded.
In the past, I’ve tended to plant my carrots as late as the first of November (when the tomatoes are dying back), and reap a harvest in February and March of great carrots that grew slowly but fully during the winter. I’ve also planted turnips in October, to have very juicy turnips for Thanksgiving.
This year, I decided to try an experiment and plant (by seed) three crops even this late – I’m writing this November 17. The three crops are winter-hardy: collards, cauliflower, and broccoli raab.
I’m fortunate enough to have a nifty bottom watering container on the property where I’m renting. See the picture.
If you have taken a permaculture course, you may recognize this concoction. It is an IBC tote that has had the top third cut off, PVC pipe is inserted so that a greenhouse or shadehouse can be created; the tote has water in it, upon which is floating styrofoam rafts covered with fabric (wool or cotton). The fabric wicks the water up to the top of the rafts, on which you place your pots with seedlings. The next picture will show what the collards and broccoli raab containers look like, all floating on their raft.
So… I took some 4″ pots left from transplanting herbs into a garden bed, filled them with rich, rich soil from the keyhole bed I’d built (a compost pile by any other name) and which we’d broken down and salvaged the soil.
Then I planted seeds and soaked the seed medium. Then I placed on the wicking raft. I’ll watch the plantings for the next several weeks and see if they (1) sprout; and (2) become viable transplants this late in the season.
Our mini-conference on urban ag is scheduled for November 11, 2017, at the Owenwood Neighbor Space (formerly Owenwood UMC). We have three tracks: learning gardening, community garden management, and market gardening.
Registration is only $10, and it starts at 8:30 am, ends by 1:30 pm.
Here’s the link to register: http://www.grownorthtexas.org/events
See you there!