Fall gardening in Michigan

annie1992

Elery built me those nice little hoop houses to go over my raised beds, and I planted them with a couple of kinds of lettuce, some mache, green onions, snow peas, Purple Lady bok choi, turnips adn golden beets. Although we've had a couple of night below 30F, things are still looking good, I'm hoping to have fresh salad still growing at Thanksgiving, as well as lettuce for wraps and bok choy for stir fries. Here in Michigan the winter is long and cold and I'm trying to stretch out my gardening season in the fall, and be able to start earlier in the spring.




Continued into the replies, because Houzz only lets me post one picture to open a thread...


Annie

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annie1992

I've never seen purple bok choi before, so you know I just had to grow some, because it's how I am, LOL. I haven't tried it yet, but it's about ready for a stir fry, I think:


The lettuces are really doing well, I've already selectively picked some leaves for sandwiches, but I see a salad in the very near future:


Sometime in the next week or two I'll be planting garlic and checking on the horseradish. The asparagus ferns are still green and there are still green berries on the raspberries, so I can't prune them yet, but soon. And yeah, I know my raised beds need weeding, I'm waiting for the green onions to get just a little bigger, they are still just tiny green threads in the back row.

What's growing in your "winter garden"?

Annie

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agmss15

Beautiful purple choy! I am jealous of your hoop structures.


We had several frosts a few weeks ago and then warmer weather. I think tonight/this morning there is likely a hard frost. I had protected my tender crops for the first couple of frosts but I finally harvested what could this past week. I am gradually small batch processing peppers and tomatoes (photo shows some of them) as they ripen. I harvested the last beans, summer squash and cukes.


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agmss15

Meanwhile I still have Piracaiba broccoli and various cool weather greens going pretty strong considering how dry our summer was. I am slightly obsessed with this kind of broccoli which was bred for a hot climate but does really well in my cold one. I am picking two meals worth every other day plus once a week picking enough to freeze or foist to keep it from flowering. The individual buds are much bigger than other broccoli but the heads are much smaller. And it keeps producing side shoots. Last year I remember being happy when deer and frost set them back.


I harvested some carrots yesterday. Between me not thinning enough and drought my harvest is going to be pretty small this year. I won’t do a full harvest until next month. I have a carrot loving dog - I do go through carrots.


I finally got around to making garlic chili oil. I love this stuff on just about anything. This batch is hot but not flamingly so...


I may make another very spicy batch. I have a bunch of tiny Thai peppers ripening.

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KatieC

It's a strange year. Last year it had snowed several inches in September and this year the trees have just barely started turning. One light frost...I have basil coming back and still have seed beans ripening/drying. We'll take our hoop houses down next weekend. (I have been informed they're actually high tunnels since we can stand in them, but hoop houses are what we've always called them.) I'll plant greens in window boxes in our greenhouse/front porch. I let some red mustard greens and orach go to seed, as well as some random Asian greens that have been going for years. They'll come up first thing in the spring so we'll have some early greens before we till. I'll cut the kale and chard back and it should green up in spring, then go to seed.

Giant heads of cabbage get cut today...it's kraut time and then some. I have a few carrots left to pull and kale to freeze and dehydrate. And one treeful of apples. Counters are full of tomatoes. Once they ripen I'll pull the peppers and get salsa made. Potatoes are spread to dry.

Garlic got planted last weekend. I planted snow peas and beets a few weeks ago and the peas are blooming like crazy. We're getting a nice crop of fall raspberries, so I won't be cutting them back yet. I'm picking the last few blueberries and the day neutral strawberries will bear until they're snowed on.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

That looks good. I've been making a chili oil, (mild spicy) for a while and recently a 'chili crisp'. His and Hers, 😂. or Mine/Yours. DH likes more spice than I.

What a tomato/pepper haul.

Annie, looks so good. I've grown the red bok. I'll put all bok in my notes for next Fall. Spring bok crops bolt here. Cold and wet, then way too hot overnight.

I had a handful of peas, lots of flowers, then all plants nibbled to the ground overnight. At least I can put in my photo notes that I can grow them. Just need to cover next year. Still lots of green tomatoes. Froze a half gallon of whole sun gold. (for winter pizza)




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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Annie - Your fall stuff looks so good!

I screwed up on my fall lettuce starts back in early September when I went down to the lake on a last second whim and left them hardening off on the porch in cell packs. They were dead when I got back.

I still have lots of sweet peppers I need to do something with but haven't found the motivation yet. I have been dehydrating the hot peppers every weekend but don't really need any more.

I didn't plant out any fall broccoli or cauliflower this year because I didn't want to water it or deal with the cabbage moths.

My fall green beans did great but are pretty much done now. I froze about 10 lbs. and either ate or gave away 25 lbs. more. I might harvest one more time and get a few more lbs. but the quality is not as good as it was a couple weeks ago. I took the fencing down around the bean beds a few days ago and the deer haven't even touched them.

Horseradish will be dealt with in mid November when I have 2 straight weeks scheduled off from work during deer season and Thanksgiving weeks. I expect to have about 15 lbs. of root to process now that I have added a second bed. That will be a lot of washing, peeling, and processing in my little HR dedicated food processor. I'm down to my last half pint from last year's harvest.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Ack, horseradish. Need to dig. I freeze most of it whole not wanting or time to deal.

Photo files years past. End of September 2017, wow. Not like that this year but good enough....


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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Annie, I need your address. I had it a few months ago but had a melt-down when 2MD passed. Your box is with her box she did not get to enjoy. I have a sister box going out...and SIL box. Easy. I just put in my oversized mailbox for pick-up. No post office visit, no driving, no fuel. No fuss.


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bcskye

Annie, your hoop houses are super and your greens look so yummy! You and Elery are so fortunate to be on the same wave length. My late husband just couldn't see gardening and preserving because you could "just go to the grocery and buy it". I still loved him and he did fence a huge garden area, tilled it and ran water to it for me. And he did enjoy eating whatever it produced.

My gardening has been over for a while. I do have some garlic to plant, but that's about it for this year unless I grow some greens in the indoor greenhouses. Oh, my basil and rosemary are inside now and I haven't killed the latest French tarragon yet.

Love everyone's vibrant pictures!

Madonna

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annie1992

Chili oil? Oooh, THAT'S a good idea, I still have hot peppers that I don't have plans for. We just used up the last of the tomatoes and the winter squash are safely in crates in the pole barn, I'll have to move them into storage where they won't freeze within the next couple of weeks.

Madonna, Elery and I do think alike on a lot of things, and not so much alike on others. Don't ask him about cows, LOL.

Agmss, those are pretty nifty hoop houses, aren't they? Like cold frames, but better, we'll see how cold it can get and still have things survive inside. I'm told it'll be 8-10 degrees warmer in the hoop houses than it is outside, so it's an experiment at this point.

Jack, I keep reading that horseradish won't keep its heat for more than 3 or 4 months, so I shouldn't grind it all at once, just store the roots and grind periodically. So that's apparently not true?

Sleevendog, I miss 2MD too, it seemed like we just met and then she was gone. (sigh) Anyway, send me an email to annie1992 at yahoo dot come and I'll give you my address. After the election, I'll have more time to play with growing things!

KatieC, my kraut is already done and in jars, and that little black bear wiped out the entire fall crop of raspberries, good thing I got a good spring crop...

Annie

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lisaam

Little to add but envy of your crops, esp Annie's mache ( can't find this at WF anymore and I do miss it,). I did pick a few October honeysuckle and they smell so nice on my counter.

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Jasdip

How exciting! I love the hoops!! To think you can extend your growing season even longer is phenomenal. Winter greens, garlic, all kinds of goodies.

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annie1992

Jasdip, garlic is easy here. I don't even put it in the hoop houses, I plant the end of October and ignore it until spring, when I weed and fertilize. July I pull it up, save the nicest cloves for re-planting, use the rest. October comes, I do it again. It's the easiest thing I've ever grown.

Lettuce and fresh salad, that's different. Even spring plantings don't always do well, like this year. It got hot and everything bolted, so I had fresh leaves for less than a month. I'm hoping to get a couple of months in spring and again in fall, instead of just a couple of weeks.

The root vegetables are just because I like them, so it's my way to get a second crop of beets!

Annie

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Annie - I've always processed all of my horseradish immediately after harvest. Then I freeze it in 4 oz. or half pint jars and it retains the heat just fine after thawing. Or at least I can't tell the difference between the freshly processed and the frozen stuff. The key to heat is to wait about 5 minutes between chopping the roots in the food processor and adding the vinegar.

That being said, If I harvest as much as I expect to this year I may refrigerate or freeze some roots to process later in the winter. I also need to save some crowns to give to my brother in late February when he stops by on his way back from their annual snow birder trip to south Texas. I need to do a little research on the best way to store the crowns for planting the next spring.

I just watched a really nice 10 point buck walk by along the edge of the bean field behind my house!

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annie1992

10 point buck? Shoot it! (grin) Of course, I keep telling people you can't eat the horns, I have been encouraging all "my" hunters to shoot does and decrease the much too large herd. We're one County away from the Chronic Wasting Zone, so the herd needs to be managed quickly to control the disease spread. On the upside, the DNR says that the number of people applying for deer licenses have increased by 1/3, there are so many who are unemployed and are trying to find a way to fill freezers for the winter. One local processor will process for free if a person donates the venison to the local food pantry and homeless shelter. Of course, I have two elderly aunts living on small Social Security checks, so I make sure garden produce, eggs, beef and venison all make it into their homes, and they both would prefer venison to beef. I guess it's all how you've grown up.

My Aunt Ellen is 87 and both diabetic and celiac, and she's keeping a close eye on those salad greens, LOL. I'm really interested to see how those golden beets do in "captivity"...

Annie

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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

Annie, is that foam insulation around the base of the hoop houses? Good idea.

Speaking of deer:

Many years ago, before cellphones and emails, for business, I had to fly from NY to Grand Rapids every Wednesday for a big meeting and back the same day.

One Wednesday, I as usual, flew to GR, arrived at the meeting place. Interesting I was the first to arrive before the other 16 attendees. 15 minutes later, no one showed up. I assumed that there must had been a traffic accident on the highway. 30 minutes later, no one showed up. I made a long distance call to my office in NY, "Is today Wednesday?"

"Yep.All day. Wednesday"

"Is today a national holiday?"

"I don't think so."

So I went to the lady at the front desk, "Miss, I don't know, but why is no one showing up for the big meeting this morning?"

She looked puzzled, " I don't understand, why would anyone show up today? It's deer hunting opening day."


dcarch



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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

LOL, dcarch. Yes, opening day of deer rifle season is considered an actual holiday in many counties of our state. Schools and businesses may close. Not so much in Grand Rapids anymore, except in companies with lots of rural employees or long time hunters. We live in the suburbs of Grand Rapids and are getting more and more deer in our yard. The nearby wooded creek bed is a route they take to get from one feeding spot to another. Unfortunately, they want to add our yard and garden to their feeding spots. We have chased several groups (4 or more at a time) of deer out of the back yard in the last few days. I doubt "our" deer go into areas that are open to hunting, but I'm hoping I am wrong.

Annie, your hoop houses are great. Elery did a great job building them. Your assortment of cool season veggies looks good. Any tips for getting good germination with the golden beets. Mine never sprout as well as the reds. I did harvest several nice golden beets today, though. I did not get a good fall garden in this year so it will be fun to see yours progress.

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annie1992

Naturegirl, I always plant the golden beets more thickly because I also have lower germination with them. But the ones in the hoop house just all grew and now I have to thin them. Maybe they liked the warmer soil in the hoop house?

Nope, Dcarch, no foam insulation, although that IS a good idea. It's just wood, untreated. We set them into the side of the bank a little, for extra protection, with the pole barn on the East side and the slope on the West side.

And yes, the schools here are closed for "Deer Day" and although the local County or State governments did not give employees the day off there is always a staffing shortage because everyone makes sure they have vacation time to take. The number of hunters has declined every year for the last decade or so, until this year, when it made a jump from somewhere around 700,000 to nearly 100,000. Of course, not everyone actually hunts, there's a Yooper song about the 2nd week of deer camp:

It's the second week of deer camp
And all the guys are here
We drink, play cards, and shoot the bull
But never shoot no deer
The only time we leave the camp
Is when we go for beer
The second week of deer camp
Is the greatest time of year!

Annie



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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Deer archery season has been open here since Sept. 15 but I rarely archery hunt anymore. Gun season opens Nov. 14th and lasts 11 days. I have 3 days of opening week scheduled off and the whole second week (Thanksgiving week). I hunt on my property opening weekend and then usually hunt on a friend's property during the week.

The last several years we have been going down to the lake cabin the second weekend and hunting like the yoopers, LOL The deer down there in the Ozarks are pretty small and don't taste as good as they do near home because there isn't any agriculture crops for the to feed on...just mast and browse down there.

I love golden beets! I've never had luck with germination in the summer for a fall crop. I think it's just too hot when I sow them in August. I had great germination in April but I didn't weed them very well. I still got a decent harvest though.

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Lynda (Zn9b/23 - Central CA Coast)

@annie What great hoop houses. Elery did a very professional job. I hope they let you extend the season. We grow year round, but I wonder if something like that would work here to allow us to grow more types of things in our 'off season'.

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annie1992

Jack, bow season opened here October 1 and runs through November 14. November 15 starts firearm season, which lasts until December 1, when bow season opens again until January 1. Elery likes to hunt with a bow, he says the weather is better and there are far fewer hunters. He won't hunt any more this year, not even "yooper" style, LOL. He only hunts here on our own property, but we do have to lock the cattle in the barnyard during rifle season because we are right on the edge of the Manistee National Forest and somehow hunters can pass the "no trespassing" signs and several strands of electric fence and still believe they are on public property, or at least they profess to believe that. And they shoot at anything that moves, including cows, so they must figure we grow deer really BIG up here, LOL. And here, of course, they stand at the hay feeder and eat with the cattle, after they've cleaned up the corn and the soy bean fields and late fall alfalfa hay, so they're fat and well fed.

Lynda, thanks. I like those hoop houses a lot, and there's a handle on the front of each one so I can just lift those hinged lids, hook the chain and they stay open. Those chains also keep them closed when it's really windy, it's a pretty nifty set up. Elery DID do a good job, I'm very happy with them.

Annie

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party_music50

Annie, I love your hoop houses and the purple bok choi is so cute! I think I've asked before, but do you grow Egyptian Walking Onions? I bet they'd grow great for you in those hoop houses.

agmss, what are those red peppers at lower right in your pic? They look fabulous!

It's been mostly cold here for a long while, but so far I've only had one veg garden that was hit by frost. Some deer wandered through my yard last week and ate every leave off several hosta. lol! I still have (green) tomatoes trying to grow/ripen, green bean plants that have stalled while loaded with small beans, various peppers, etc. I also still need to plant my garlic. Today I'll probably harvest what I can from the gardens and work on bringing in all / most of the houseplants because I think our growing season ends tonight.


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annie1992

Those red peppers do look interesting, don't they? They look a little like Ajvarski, but I'll bet they are something hot instead...

I do have walking onions, Naturegirl brought me some when she visited while Lars and Kevin were here. I've moved them about 3 times, I can't seem to find a good place to leave them undisturbed. Right now they are in a spot next to the garlic and horseradish.

I planted the garlic today. 250 cloves of it. In the snow. Yeah, it snowed here. That's early even for Michigan. While I was working in the garden I decided to pull the rutabaga:


Yes, they sure did well enough this year. I tried one when it was smaller, but it was so strong and bitter I couldn't eat it. I waited for a couple of frosts to try again, and now they are sweeter and milder. It gave them extra time to grow, though, and grow they did!

This is my back storage room. Butternut squash, of course, and under the milk crate of potatoes is one of red onions, they did well this year too. Red Pontiac potatoes, some leeks and garlic, of course.

Annie



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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

WOW Annie. Fantastic harvest. We are having a possible first frost tonight. Harvested some blushing tomatoes and deciding about some of the green ones. I might just cover a few plants. (light frost).


Sungold in the past years have been snackers. Could not keep up so have frozen whole a couple gallons. These are over-ripe. Got ahead of me.

I only made a quart of fermented hot sauce...past years at least a gallon. One gallon of AC vinegar fermenting. Past years at least 5-6 gallons. Dehydrator past year ran 24/7 for a few weeks. This year just 6 trays of tomatoes. Stress? who knows.

But the Breville juicer and the blender have been working overtime for two months now. Easy and immediate. Juice, blender, all veg fruit combo frozen with everything from rhubarb to asian pear and chards/kales...lemons, tomatoes...beets, carrots, ginger, turmeric, ...so different this year but food value is in the freezer door shelves as veg value. I even put a green tea bag at the top with a water topper, so when it starts to thaw?...it is an ice pack for lunches and a mid day beverage as its thaws. So weird that this is our new normal. DH loves it. In the past years I made these for me. He was indifferent.

He loves it now. Home packed/made lunches are the new normal. We have to plan meals with lunches in mind for the next few days.


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