End of the Line

This next Saturday is an important day for us here in south central Kansas. Trying to guess what it is? November 20th is the day when we drop down to 10 hours of sunlight (or less) for then next 3 months. I know, that’s depressing, isn’t it? We won’t be back up to 10 hours of daylight until about February 20th.

What’s important about those two dates is how they affect our fall/winter garden plants. Our fall vegetables’ growth will slow down to a mere crawl (growth has already slowed way down) for the next 3 months. Anything that is still in the garden should meet a couple of criteria.

  1. It is mature or nearly mature size and will maintain quality with some protection for at least part of the winter.
  2. It is very tolerant to cold temperatures and will be ready to take off and grow when there’s more sunlight and warmer temperatures in late February/early March.

With that in mind, I pulled a lot of things out of the garden yesterday.

One of the first things to go was the Bok Choy. For various reasons, it didn’t do real well this fall. First, we didn’t thin it out appropriately, so the plants really didn’t have a chance to get sized up. Second, we didn’t work very hard at keeping the flea beetles in check, so the poor crowded plants were further stressed by continual munching of beetles. Lesson learned there! The bok choy is fairly hardy, but it wasn’t very big, wasn’t good quality, and probably wasn’t going to improve.

I also pulled out most of the remaining root vegetables because there were very few that were actually sized up. No reason to keep them growing when there’s not that many of them.

Of course, there’s still a smattering of spinach and lettuce around the garden, but judicious harvesting will be important, since the plants will be very slow to replace any leaves harvested. The radicchio will keep hanging out so it can grow in the spring, as will the leeks and onions.

We kind of quit keeping track of the Family of 4 Garden. I would estimate that we ended up about $300-$320 worth of produce this year, which is about $40 less than last year. I’m blaming the Swiss Chard. (Too much last year, not enough this year.)

With less happening in the garden, blogging will by much lighter, although I’m hoping to have a couple posts every week. We’ll be checking out the catalogs for new varieties, looking around the neighborhood for some other interesting blogs to read, and updating you about any upcoming classes and events! I hope you stick around for the winter.

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on November 16, 2010, in Around the Garden, Working in the Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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