I'm just getting into gardening and have a small space at my apartment in Southern Vermont to grow. I love chia seeds so I sowed about a 3'X6' area with chia on July 4th and they've started off great. However, from some of the info I've found on chia I'm worried that I've started too late and won't get to harvest any seeds. I'm bummed out so I'm looking for other ideas of what I can start from seed in July and get a harvest from this year.
My garden gets full sun nearly all day and the soil is fairly moist. I don't have much experience with soil but it seems fairly compact. I don't know about the PH or what has been grown there in the past. The garden space is overrun with chest high weeds and grass. I was told the previous tenant started a garden last summer but I have no idea what she had there or if any chemicals were used. I know very little about gardening so I would need plants that are easy to raise. There's a hose available so I can irrigate.
I'm not sure what other information to give. I'd love to grow some kind of fruit if possible but definitely some veggies.
This is the perfect time to plant them; the seeds germinate quickly in hot weather and as the weather cools off, the plant puts more into growth and will not go to seed. I would suggest rolling or chopping or otherwise killing the weed crop and laying it down to dry out to a mulch, akin to how the no-till farmers kill their cover crop in preparation for planting. Many of these you can start now in flats and transplant into the mulch when they are 4" tall. However, the root crops (turnips, rutabaga, radish) do best when seeded directly onto the mulch. Don't limit yourself to western style salad radishes. Look for the Asian types, like daikon that are good cooking radishes. They have the added benefit that they loosen the soil as their roots grow deep.
Brassicas are all frost tolerant, some to lower temperatures than others. I've read where savoy cabbage is supposed to be hardy down to 0F, but we don't get any of that here in Georgia. From my experience, kohlrabi can look like a goner when the temps go down into the teens at night, but after a sunny day it springs right back. With a lot of mulch and snow cover, the root crops may just go dormant in the depths of winter and you can look forward to them resprouting in the springtime.
Are you anywhere near these guys? http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/ I know someone who's working there now and it sounds like a really fantabulous permaculture project, they have a course running in August and I believe they take volunteers any time, not sure though, you could learn a lot from them with the great benefit that what works there will work in your climate too - allowing for microclimate differences of course.
Location: Central Vermont
posted 6 years ago
Just wanted to update. I bought some cabbage, broccoli, and radish, and turnips seeds and started germinating them inside. In the meantime, I chopped and dropped a 4X8 area in the garden and let it sit while the seeds were maturing. A couple weeks ago I transplanted into the ground and am now watering every day there is no rain. What I've learned is that you have to be careful when sprouting seeds. Some of them came up earlier than others and they didn't get into the sun very quickly so they grew too tall and spindly. A lot of them broke but some made it, I think it was the radish or turnips that came up the quickest. I did a poor job of getting enough sunlight to the seedlings once all had sprouted and so a lot of them grew too tall. I also probably waited too long to thin them out. Transplanting into the chop and drop was a bit of a pain with all the roots in there already. It looks like I lost a few more during the transplant. Next time I'll try direct sowing a few into the chop and drop and see if that makes the process a little simpler.
Thanks for the suggestions, I did check out WSD and actually bought their book. I'm now reading through that and getting excited to get some of my own land and start practicing some more permaculture techniques. It'll be more than a few years before I can buy land, so I'll have plenty of time to practice my gardening skills in the mean time.