The average first frost date range here is October 20-30, less than 8 weeks away! I was able to get another garden frame filled and planted with parsley and lettuce this weekend. The lettuce and parsley were started mid-August after the early August batch was lost while I was on vacation. They have been slowly developing under a canopy of kale that has been going strong all summer.
Based on our current lettuce gap (mid-July to mid-September), let's figure out when I should have started more lettuce:
- The first batch was planted about March 23 and the first harvest was May 16 (~60 days).
- That lettuce continued to produce until mid-July when it began to go to seed (~60 days)
- I have been without garden lettuce for six weeks and don't expect to be able to pick from the current planting until the end of September (~60 days)
If I had started a batch of lettuce at the same time each month through July, I would have had a more steady supply of lettuce, and since there is overlap, would be able to reduce the amount that is planted after the first planting.
Next year, let's try starting with 32 plants (8 square feet) and then 16 additional (4 square feet) each month until July when we replace the original 8 squares with new lettuce which will provide into the heart of winter (now scheduled on my Gmail Calendar). Alternatively, I could start another planting every other month. Note: The trick to having lettuce all summer is to provide mid-day shade in July and August when the sun and heat are most intense and to keep it watered well, otherwise it will quickly go to seed.
The last tomato was picked yesterday from the container tomatoes that first began showing signs of blight about 8 weeks ago. The tomatoes in the 4x4 frame just started providing ripe fruit and should continue up until first frost. We have been adding volunteer purslane to our salads and green juicing. It is a "rich source of omega-3's", among other things.
We also picked about 2.5 gallons of apples from our Gala and Braeburn apple trees. There will be many more to come as most of the apples were not yet ripe. The pears, plums, peach, grapes and blueberries did not produce this year, but we have been picking a cup or two of raspberries almost everyday. I am planning to put a fence around most of the fruit next year to keep the deer away.
In the kitchen, we grew some sunflower and wheatgrass sprouts. One tray of either fills a 2 quart container.
As a final note, I finally fixed all of the garden frames that were damaged by the heavy snows last winter. This winter, they will be protected by hoops.