A Fall Garden – Finally!

I have wanted a fall garden for years but by the time August rolls around the thought of clearing beds and planting makes me delirious! All that heat and dry weather – it is difficult to imagine planting fragile baby plants let alone seeds with a desire for cool weather.

Part of this mornings harvest. Enough kale to last through the week and Pak Choy for a stir fry.

Part of this mornings harvest. Enough kale to last through the week and Pak Choy for a stir fry.

But this year I did it. I yanked out the dwindling tomato vines – they didn’t do so well this year anyway. Poor things. And the jalapenos! I had bags of them in the freezer by the end of August. And the still empty raised beds got filled with dirt. The squash vines were done and the cucumbers had seen better days. With more than a gallon of pesto in the freezer all but one basil plant went to the compost.

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Summer cucumbers. The best cukes I have grown.

You see that isn’t much of a garden is it? There is only about 200 square feet of growing space. It is a little kitchen garden right next to the patio with a great south exposure and backed on the north by the bulk of the house. So a perfect place for the fall garden.

The last of summers crops made a fine zuchinni tomato quiche.

The last of summers crops made a fine zuchinni tomato quiche.

It was actually refreshing to clear the beds and start anew. I pruned the volunteer zinnias which by then had grown to over five feet tall and were covered with hundreds of blooms. Yanked all the withering summer things that were struggling in the heat and unusually dry weather.

I wasn't planning on pickles this year as there are still some from last year but when there is a windfall then pickles it shall be.

I wasn’t planning on pickles this year as there are still some from last year but when there is a windfall then pickles it shall be.

The fall garden plan would include peas (my favorite anytime), broccolli, kale, cabbage, lettuce, onions, garlic, Pak Choy, radish, parsnips, late green beans and zuchinni. I would also hold on to one basil and a jalapeno. And a lemon drop pepper as they are long and slow to ripen.

The parsnips, by the way, were a bust. I really want to grow these gems but need to do more research.

A view of the peas today. You can see they have topped the five foot fence and are covered in flowers in spite of the 80 degree days over the last few weeks.

A view of the peas today. You can see they have topped the five foot fence and are covered in flowers in spite of the 80 degree days over the last few weeks. Notice the jalapeno, pruned and transplanted to the large pot. I will take it in and see if it will overwinter.

This is my mouse control patrol. Mr. Black snake has been scouting the area.

This is my mouse control patrol. Mr. Black snake has been scouting the area.

Just about four weeks ago the peas (far back on the right) are only about a foot high and the brassicas just getting planted.

Just about four weeks ago the peas (far back on the right) are only about a foot high and the brassicas just getting planted.

Today the peas are huge! And the brocolli and kale are stepping up. It really is a struggle for them in the heat we've had.

Today the peas are huge! And the brocolli and kale are stepping up. It really is a struggle for them in the heat we’ve had.

Mmmmmm my favorite thing in the garden. Lets hope for cooler weather so they will fill the fridge.

Mmmmmm my favorite thing in the garden. Lets hope for cooler weather so they will fill the fridge.

The late green beans in back and the first of five plantings of Pak Choy in the foreground. This stuff is great in stir fries!

The late green beans in back and the first of five plantings of Pak Choy in the foreground. This stuff is great in stir fries!

Gene made these two lettuce boxes. Cooler weather will bring more growth if they haven't already been stunted by the heat. Lets hope. About two square feet each box can generate enough lettuce for one or two people to eat all they want.

Gene made these two lettuce boxes. Cooler weather will bring more growth if they haven’t already been stunted by the heat. Lets hope. About two square feet each box can generate enough lettuce for one or two people to eat all they want.

The best looking squash I've ever grown. It is surrounded by tire sidewalls to heat the soil. It was much cooler and struggling when first planted. Now it also has a large heavy black plastic garbage bag wrapped loosely around the base to pull up and over it in the evenings when the weather cools off Friday night - in the 30's maybe. There will be just a few cold nights to fend off before the weather warms back up.

The best looking squash I’ve ever grown. It is surrounded by tire sidewalls to heat the soil. It was much cooler and struggling when first planted. Now it also has a large heavy black plastic garbage bag wrapped loosely around the base (creating a microclimate) to pull up and over it in the evenings when the weather cools off Friday night – in the 30’s maybe. There will be just a few cold nights to fend off before the weather warms back up.

This morning I hand pollinated the fruits that are big enough and will check them each day.

This morning I hand pollinated the fruits that are big enough and will check them each day.

We're really looking forward to chopping this into the stir fry tomorrow. It's really good stacked up on a sandwich too.

We’re really looking forward to chopping this into the stir fry tomorrow. It’s really good stacked up on a sandwich too.

Happy gardening to you!

-S

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