Harvest Monday, and fall planting in my backyard garden

I am almost done planting my backyard vegetable garden for fall. I specify backyard because I also grow vegetables in the front yard (I even grow potatoes and yams in the driveway using fabric Grow Pots!) and my community garden plot. Here in southern California, we garden year round, growing eggplants, tomatoes, squash and peppers in the summer, and broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuces in the winter. So, one garden area almost planted out for fall, two to go.

Raised beds for growing vegetables in back.

This is an overview of half of my backyard. You can see that I’m not working with very much space. These three raised beds are from Gardeners Supply Company. My beds are going into their third year, and look as good as new. I just love them.

I added two bean towers and some black metal trellising and pea fencing from Gardeners Supply this past spring. They’re performing nicely as well. I particularly like the black coated metal trellising that I put into the raised beds for growing peas and beans. They are designed to fit perfectly, and the black coating is more elegant than the aluminum-look pea fencing that I have set up next to our deck.

Mammoth Melting Sugar snow peas growing up a pea fence by the deck. I grow parsley, basil and dill in front of the peas, along with nasturtiums and allysum.

The openings are closer together on the black trellising than on the pea fence, which the peas like better. If I were doing it over, I’d skip the zig-zag pea fencing in favor of the black trellises, even though the black ones were more expensive. The black ones just look better.

As for the bean towers, I just love them. I can grow a lot of beans and peas in a very small space with these towers.

Raised bed # 1 has been planted with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and brussel sprouts, with some beets and lacinato kale left over from a previous planting.

Raised bed #2 has some eggplants hanging on from summer, plus some lettuce, leeks, one lone red cabbage that is struggling to make a head, broccoli, and some peas starting up the new black trellises.

You can see that I let that eggplant go a bit too long. It turned from glossy black to egg color. No worries. I picked it yesterday, pared off the tough skin, and made an eggplant Parmesan, using the last of my tomatoes for the sauce, plus homegrown onions, garlic, and herbs.

Raised bed #3 has some holdover tomatoes plus savoy cabbage, some peppers that have seen better days, and some peas starting up the black trellis in back.

To make even better use of my space, I plant herbs and flowers outside the raised beds. This bed has allysum and parsley around portions of the exterior. You can see the base of the bean towers in back at the left of the photo. I have a few green beans remaining, but the season for beans is over. The other bean tower has some newly planted Super Sugar Snap peas that haven’t sprouted yet.

My only remaining task for the back is to pull out the spent tomato and pepper plants, add compost, and plant my six-pack of red cabbages. I’m hoping to find room to transplant some deer-tongue lettuce that I started from seed a few weeks ago. The texture of deer-tongue lettuce is fabulous, with great flavor too. I count that as my best new-to-me vegetable from last winter. It’s an heirloom, so I saved seeds from last year’s crop to grow this year.

October has been a surprisingly good harvest month for me, with about 34 lbs of produce. That puts my total harvest for the year up to 196 lbs, with more crops coming along. I’m certainly going to break 200 lbs, and hope to at least equal my harvest last year (without the community garden) of 224 lbs. Maybe my harvest poundage is as much related to the amount of time that I have to garden as the amount of space that I have. I tended to neglect my home garden this year in favor of working the soil in the community garden.

I love being able to go out into the garden to "pick lunch." Yesterday's lunch was a turkey-Jarlsberg cheese sandwich on a croissant with homegrown lettuce, plus a medley of potatoes, whole wheat pasta, homegrown green beans, and pesto made with homegrown garlic, basil, and parsley.

Harvest for the week ending October 23, 2011

FRUIT

7 oz lemon, Meyer

6 lbs watermelon

Subtotal FRUIT 6 lbs 7 oz

VEGETABLES

10 oz bell peppers

4 oz black dried beans

6 oz beans, green

1 lb carrots

6 oz chard

1 lb 13 oz eggplant

5 oz garlic

2 oz herbs

9 oz lettuce

1 lb onions

6 oz tomatoes

9 oz winter squash

Subtotal VEGETABLES (116 oz) 7 lbs 6 oz

TOTAL PRODUCE  13 lbs 13 oz, plus 4 eggs

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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10 Responses to Harvest Monday, and fall planting in my backyard garden

  1. Daphne says:

    I added your like to Harvest Monday since you said you wouldn’t be around to do it. And your lunch looks delicious.

  2. kitsapfg says:

    Lunch looks very yum! The fall/winter garden beds look good. I like the Gardener Supply products as well. They produce sturdy functional items that really last. My tomato cages and ladders were purchased years ago from them and are going strong. Like you, I have been involved with another community garden this year (Giving Garden – all the produce goes to our local ShareNet foodbank) and I noticed my garden is getting a little less attention as a result. Only so many hours available.

  3. How wonderful to be able to grow such a variety year-round! I’m especially jealous of your lemons and watermelon!

  4. Stevie says:

    Love your winter garden. I gave up on them here, just to difficult for me, but I admire those who do grow winter veg.

  5. Rick says:

    Hi, I’m new to your blog and very jealous, your fall/winter garden looks great!! We live in Zone 5 and the only way we can have off season gardens is with cold frames and hoop houses. Keep up the good work and I will look on with envy!!

    • Rick, welcome to my blog. I can’t imagine anyone looking at my little garden and being envious. But gardening in southern California does have it’s advantages, like all year long growing season and having citrus trees in my yard.

  6. what a wonderful garden (and blog) you have. I appreciate gardening all year, but here in the UK I’m much more limited, but if I’m careful with my selections I can get some great salad crops to see me through the winter. But oh, am I jealous of watermelons, lemons, and avocados? Me? You Bet!

  7. Hi Lou, sometimes it’s a bit of trial and error, sometimes winters can be harsh, but the biggest problem we have is low light levels and shorter days. But hey, don’t us gardeners like a challenge ?

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