We are lucky to be able to grow food all year round here in Southern Nevada. Most people break down the year into three garden seasons with a cool season in the spring and fall and the warm season in the summer. Sometimes the two cool seasons just run into one long season especially if you take precautions to protect your crops from frost which is how my garden is going right now. As we say good-bye to the fall cool season and hello to the spring cool season, I thought I’d take some time to highlight some of the highs and lows of the fall season.
Peas – This was my biggest disappointment. I didn’t want to mess with building a trellis for them since we just barely built the gardens at the new house in time to plant. So, I tried short vine varieties which don’t need support. I was trying to find spacing recommendations based on Square Foot Gardening for peas without a trellis. From what I can tell, there’s not an “official” spacing but I used some suggestions I found on some forum posts. I planted about 20 seeds per square foot and it was really crowded. The harvest was small and not all that tasty. Next time I’ll stick with the large vine varieties. Here is a picture of some of the peas. They look good here but soon became all tangled and overgrown for the area.
Earthbox – I lost a lot of time and seeds with my Earthboxes this season. I tried a new soil which is on their recommended list but I think this soil holds way too much moisture for an Earthbox. The seeds just rotted. I reseeded peas in one Earthbox five times and only ended up with one vine. This box has a trellis on it and peas are the only cool season vine so I was really trying to make it work. At first I thought it was old seeds but I ended up trying four more times with fresh seeds and no luck. Finally, I started seeds indoors and transplanted the seedlings. And it wasn’t just peas either. I sowed lettuce and spinach seeds and ended up with nothing. Transplants did much better.
Seed mixes – I used several lettuce seed mixes this season and was frustrated with trying to figure out which seedlings to thin. When they’re so small it’s hard to tell which variety it is so there’s a good chance you’ll end up with many of the same varieties. We also have Rainbow carrots growing now and I have no idea which colors we’ll end up with. Next year, I’ll buy the different varieties individually so that we’ll have a better chance of getting some of everything.
Broccoli – I really wish I knew the variety of the broccoli we harvested earlier because the taste was amazing! I have another round of broccoli that will be ready to harvest soon. The girls and I are anxiously watching the tiny heads grow.
Greens – Salad greens did really well. Red leaf lettuce, White Rib Swiss Chard, Lacinato kale, Rocket arugula, Royal Oak Leaf and Nevada lettuce were all winners.
Watermelon radish – The girls were looking forward to this because of the name but even mild radishes are too spicy for them. This one is beautiful but not something they can eat. It’s mild to start but has a good kick at the end.
Worms – Well, this isn’t really food but I’m very excited about my worm bin. It was a really rough start but the population is thriving now. I’ve harvested two trays of vermicompost so far and they are going through food more quickly. I should be able to harvest a tray each month now that they’re doing well.
For the spring cool season, I’ll continue with much of the same but less of it. I’ll need to save some space for the warm season crops that will go in early such as tomatoes. Yum, tomatoes!