Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Planting Now In The Desert - Fall 2011

Dear Folks,

Yesterday I seeded in more beets, carrots, turnips and parsnips, plus radishes, "red" celery and some Kale.

I also harvested and grated my horseradish.  To grow horseradish successfully in the desert you need to plant it in the fall and harvest summer to fall.  The roots take several years to get to good size and this year I harvested the biggest roots I've gotten so far.  Pencil thin 2 years ago, thin carrot size last year and this year and inch or more in diameter on some.   I keep what I want to grate, save some with parts of their tops if possible and replant immediately.  I've been expanding the area out a little get more growing.  Deane can't take hot peppers, but he can enjoy horseradish.   You can find my prior year blogs on horseradish, by using the search box on the sidebar.

Horseradish and ginger and two root crops which can present some difficulty for desert gardeners.  One is a cold-climate lover and the other a true tropical.

I have ginger growing now also, and I found it loves a mostly summer shaded area, although it will tolerate some summer southern sun with dense planting around it.  The shaded area ginger is far happier.

Tomorrow I plant my garlic, an October 1st tradition.  Garlic is very easy to grow, but you need patience, as the mature head is not ready until April.  I am growing Purple Glazer this year, one I've grown before and really enjoyed, as do my market customers.

I have some 'left-overs" I kept in the crisper for replanting and because last year's crop, which was intended to be green-garlic, matured to too-tiny head garlic because of our rare winter freezes, I'm going to re-plant them for green garlic over the next couple of months.

I recently opened up an old bed, reclaimed from the many-years old garlic chives (I will be dealing with seed sprouting for a while I'm sure) to plant the root crops etc. I mention at the top for our use in the coming weeks and months.  You read one of my 'irregular' newsletters I posted yesterday about successive planting here.

For many years I have used the gardens as my laboratory to experiment with my trowel and error edible landscaping so I could find out how to grow the things I love to eat and use in the kitchen.  That T&E is how I can write and help you garden successfully in the desert garden.  We have the climate and the opportunity to grow much or most of the food we need year round, why not take advantage of it!

Unfortunately I have let mint and garlic chives take over several large areas so I am going to rein in the mint and take some space back for more seasonal edibles.  I have given myself quite the chore to get the mint under control.  I planting on restricting it using roof flashing - I will keep you posted on my T&E there and Deane's reactions (RIGHT!!!) to this effort.  He always helps, sometimes doing most of the digging for my projects, but he can't stop pointing out that I'm too successful and neither the garden nor me are trainable.  We will see :-)

The red celery mentioned above is new to me and I am excited about my new experiment to grow it here in the desert.  I chose this because of the licopene aspect and also that this particular variety can be harvested a stalk at a time, once it reaches a good size.  Keep your fingers crossed for me :-)

Have a great time in the garden,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady