A Gardener’s Diary: A busy time for the composter

I would find it hard to complain about the weather we had this September. In July and August I found it too hot many days but at this time of the year, I will take as much sunshine as possible. The nights have been cooler but not cold enough to stop the growth of most plants.

As I was wishing for my rain barrels to fill up, I got my wish. Now I have enough water to give all my plants and trees a good soak before the ground freezes over. I have enough jugs filled up to look after all the houseplants without having to use water from the tap.

Every year I plan on getting things done early so I won’t get caught by the frost and somehow, I always fail. This year, however, I started already to put my garden to bed. As I remove my plants, I pile everything in one spot and shred with the old lawnmower to add to the compost. All the compost of the spring and summer is now being added to my beds. The last compost I started, I was able to fill the round composter (Darth Vader) almost to the top within three days. The first day after filling it, the temperature registered 125 F (51 C) on the second day, 135 F (57 C) and on the third day, 146 F (63). It is working very well without adding anything to it but the shredded stuff from the garden. I will have enough leaves soon to add to it.

This time of the year is really beautiful. The leaves are changing colours, a lot of flowers that were cut early are starting to bloom again like my alyssum saxatile, the oriental poppies and the lavender. Some early blooming clematis which I cut when I should not is forgiving me and blooming on new growth.

One tomato plant reseeded itself in late spring and most of the tomatoes on it have ripened and it only gets afternoon sun. It looks like it could be a “Siberia” which is early ripening. It has a thick skin but the taste is very nice.

Last week I found on the internet, an article by Colleen Vanderlinden about crops that can grow without full sun. As she says, “Keep in mind that no vegetable will grow in full, dense shade. The following crops will produce with three to six hours of sun, or fairly constant dappled shade, per day. Basically, a good rule to remember is that if you grow a plant for the fruit or the root, it needs full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems, or buds, a little shade will be just fine.

“You can grow salad greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, and cress. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, Brussels sprouts, radishes and Swiss chard. Leafy greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach and kale and the last of them, beans.”

My Swiss chard this year was the best ever and the leaves were very large and lush and the best ones were growing with a bit of morning sun and no sun at all after 11:30 a.m. My peas did very well on a shaded fence with only about two hours of afternoon sun.

Thanksgiving is coming. Every day you should think of many things you are grateful for like living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with the bounty of our gardens, family and friends.

For more information: 250-558-4556.

 

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