August 19, 2011

Zone 8 Gardening.. AKA "Dude, Where's my Summer?"

Amusing title, isn't it? Sad thing is, it is absolutely true. This summer in my lovely zone 8 area, we've had virtually zero days above 80 Fahrenheit, which is also 26.7 Celsius for all my Marvelous Metric friends. Shout out to the UK, and the western park of Canada! You my friends, may also be in a zone 8 area.
Anyway, this is AUGUST for crying out loud. Where is my summer? It was cloudy and blag on the 9th, my birthday. I am prepared for at least a few days of heat, whereas my tomatoes on the other hand seem to really love this weather.

As the lackluster summer starts to come to an end, and I hear more and more reports that we will have a cold and all together tough La Nina winter again.. I wish for a green house and some crops that will grow beautifully during the chilly season. The few very cold months we have can sometimes be a bit brutal and I am really thankful that the Pacific Northwest does not drop in temperature more than it does. It could be much worse! Wind is more often than not the worst enemy around these parts with the vast number of trees known to grow here.The heat lovers that are not annual will be coming inside soon, my peppers and honestly unsure of my artichoke still. It could easily be potted up but I worry about hurting it.
My Brussels sprouts are getting heavy mulching even though they sweeten up with frost. I'm also searching for seeds for frost hardy vegetables, including the purple sprouting broccoli I hear is a wonderful crop to grow here. I'm not sure if I could get over the purple heads though.. there is also purple cauliflower, which I read turns green when cooked. SO weird!! I'm searching for some cold hardy cabbage as well.
Brassica family seems to really thrive in this area is cared for right.
Winter Squash is next on my list, with Spaghetti Squash in the lead!! I am so so excited for this plant. I only obtained 4 seeds and sadly one singly little guy sprouted. This one will be treated like my baby, that is for sure. I absolutely need to research a bit more about the care of these but it is called a winter squash, hopefully it's for a good reason. Butternut squash is another I am interested in trying as it is also a winter squash variety.
Not all members of the Cucurbita family are hardy in the winter so it is very important to check what kind you are planting and when.
Many of the Allium family can be sown in this season, late summer and successfully grow through the winter.

Most of this I have not tried. This is my first winter season trying to garden, and I will most definitely report my successes as well as absolutely failures. I'm not sure which way it'll go, though. Might be more failures than successes ;)

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