Is an urban garden in autumn worth the trouble?

Hey, fellow gardeners! Have you ever wondered if (re)planting your vegetable garden in autumn is worth the time, money and trouble?

Well, good news: In the name of science, thriftiness and overall misplaced ambition, I’m going to find out for you!

Little did I know, when I killed our last remaining ficus a couple of years back, that I would one day become a garden convert. Luckily, people can change, and when we decided to overhaul the garden of our new(ish) home this spring, one day I found myself staring at the empty space and imagining a lush vegetable patch. Me, dashing in and out of the kitchen in a functional yet sexy apron, daintily running with scissors to the nearest source of thyme…

In my naive arrogance I figured, if maybe I couldn’t keep the both of us in vegetables year round, I should at least be able to make a dent in our grocery budget. Disclaimer: naturally you should primarily garden because it’s fun, and that’s my main reason for doing it too. But, well, it’s a challenge, and I happen to think challenges are also fun. And also thriftiness. And also, mimicking the hobbies of a lonely old lady. Moving on.

My only problem, getting started: autumn was just around the corner. I know a lot of square garden converts swear by sowing and harvesting well into winter, but, I dunno. Starting a vegetable garden as a vegetable virgin (ew) might be hard enough in spring. What chance do I really have of getting results before the year is out?

Well, I have no idea, but I’m going to try! The idea is to share my process with you, both triumphs and failures, so maybe we can reach a conclusion together by the end of the year:

Autumn garden, yay or nay?

State of the Garden, 09-07-2014

Initial cost for materials, soil and seeds: 55 euros (71 dollars)

I decided to go with a square garden, because the idea seemed manageable (and, frankly, cute) and I had some pallets laying around anyway. Remind me boys and girls, story for another day: square gardening for lazy cheapskates. For now, moving on:

The sowing plan

garden_plan ‘Cause bitches love plans. Oh no, wait, that’s another paradigm.

Three weeks later: the main players

looseleafed-lettuce In the front right corner: loose-leaf lettuce. Going pretty well; 11 out of 12 seeds sprouted.

In the far right corner we have the bok choy and arugula. 6 out of 9 arugula seeds sprouted.
Note: I planted the bok choy after eating it and sprouting the left-over trunk in a glass of water. A kitchen hack that totally works!

All the way in the back: the carrots. They are taking a long time to sprout, but maybe that’s just impatience talking.

In the far left corner: beans! Sugar snaps in the front, snow peas in the back.
So far, they are a gardener’s dream: They all sprouted and they grow like mad.

 Last but not least, in the front left corner we have the beet roots. 7 out of 9 seeds sprouted.
I already thinned them, and I don’t know why, but I’m completely in love with them.

Tune in next week…
To check the State of the Garden, 09-14-2014, and see how I’m faring!

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