I planted my fall garden this morning on the south side of the house. It was shaded at the time, but I was still sweating. It is high summer here in southern Wisconsin. We are hitting highs of 90F, and it is going to get hotter and drier in August.
I’ve been so behind in the garden this year for various reasons that I didn’t get the south side of the house planted this spring. I had to make soil to deepen the soil level in the cold frames, which are now acting as raised beds. They now hold cabbage plants I bought for bargain prices as the grocery and variety stores took down their temporary green houses for bedding plants. My seedlings were totally eaten by bugs this year. (It has been a terrible year for bugs because of the past mild winter.) I also planted test rows of carrots (Nantes) in each of the cold frames.
I laid 75 feet of soaker hose in the raised beds and the linear bed. (Which I had to dig [mostly] volunteer perennials out of twice before I did this planting.) It is the only way to raise vegetables in this area of my yard. Both the linear bed and the cold frame beds bake in the summer sun–the soil dries completely and the hip roof of the house shields a good deal of the raised cold frame beds from all rain. (There was a reason that there were only tough bridal wreath bushes in this area when we bought the house.)
I’m determined to make this rare sunny area of the property produce. I can’t grow tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplant because of various viral wilts in the soil. I could grow flowers, but I would need to water them as well–I only water food. (If a flower is growing next to a food plant, it gets a drink, but otherwise, it is on its own once it is established.) I am already growing my herbs in another dry area (near the drip line of a large spruce in front).
This fall vegetable patch is an experiment. I’ve been reading for years that late summer is the time to plant for a fall crop of cool weather vegetables (which makes sense in one way–number of days to harvest). Honestly though, planting lettuce when it is 80+ degrees F? I’m going for broke–so I planted not only lettuce but carrots, turnips, radishes, and a late crop of summer squash, all plants with days to harvest that will mature before the killing frost in late September or early to mid-October.
I am hoping that plenty of water exactly where needed will make the difference. Begonia