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Fall Gardening – Pictures and Notes

This fall weather has been wonderful for working in the garden. The air today was moist and smelled of the ocean.  Sure brought back memories of 50 years ago when Bill and I were first married and worked at the beach one summer.

Had the farmer deliver two big rolls of straw today.

My garlic beds are ready. I’ll plant garlic and potato onions mid-month.

If I can protect my tomatoes from the early frost that I know is coming, I should have lots of green tomatoes to pick before the freeze. If so, I’ll have fresh tomatoes into January.

Still have more tomato seeds to save.

Not sure I have enough row cover fabric to protect all the tomatoes, peppers, squash, limas and green beans! But I’ll cover what I can. I want to get the fresh stuff as long as possible.

The picture below shows today’s harvest, some alfalfa sprouts (for eating) and some tomato seed I’m fermenting.

Daily Harvest (October 3rd)

Daily Harvest (October 3rd) Clockwise – sorrell, tomatoes, cucumber, yellow squash, pepper, green beans, radishes, brazil peppers, fish peppers, carmine pepper, tomato, carmine peppers, butternut squash, parsley. To left in jar are alfalfa sprouts (for eating) and in the white bowl is seed saved from a Mortgage Lifter tomato.

 

lllllll

Left to right: alfalfa, a few oats, Henderson Lima Beans, tomatoes in basket, parsley, buckwheat, cultivated dandelion greens.

I’ve determined that it’s the crickets that were eating my seedlings. I kept planting and the seedlings kept disappearing. In this last week – finally – something is growing! They ate most of my beets, spinach, carrots and lettuce.

Peppers didn’t even start growing until mid July, but are outdoing themselves now.

Tomatoes have been great. Should have plenty of tomato sauce to last through July of next year.

My first planting of lima beans (Henderson) didn’t germinate. Planted again. They’re fine, but I’m short what I usually have. (Two rows.)

bbbbb

Picking green beans as the sun sets.

Squash bugs have been manageable for the first time I remember in many years.
Harlequin bugs have been a pain.
During the summer, saw and killed at least 1 or 2 stink bugs a day.
Asparagus beetles were worse than usual.
Had a couple weeks that potato beetles were bad. Other than that, there were very few.
Saw three large tomato worms with the tachnid fly cocoons on them on the tomatoes in the back meadow.

Bunching onions.

Bunching onions.  (Backup)

 

mmmmmmm

Having yellow squash without having to constantly fight the squash bug and the squash vine borer is wonderful!  I had almost forgotten what it felt like.

Potatoes were great. Still have some in the ground.
Harvested about two dozen butternut squash. Not all matured, so the small ones I used right away.

Cucumbers were wonderful as always.

I’ll have onions (harvested in June and July) through this month. I usually have onions through December.
Fall radishes have been slow to produce the root, but seem to finally be coming.

Plenty of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries in the freezer.

Have some chard from last year still in the garden.

As soon as I can see what new seedlings are going to grow (in spite of the crickets), I can put my hoop tunnels up.

mmmmm

The bare spot on the left is where I’ve just cut the old snap beans.  At the far end of the row are newer beans now producing.  Also the row to the far left has beans.  Pepper plant in the middle.  Alfalfa at lower middle.  Blue bloom is cultivated dandelion. Radishes are top middle right.  Also tomatoes, asparagus ferns and more beans on right hand side.

 

These two peppers are close to the garden entrance.  I've just come into the garden with my hand sickle to cut some oats.

These two peppers are close to the garden entrance. I’ve just come into the garden with my hand sickle to cut some oats.

I’ve sown several cover crops (oats, lava beans, and field peas) in the new bed in the meadow.
I’ve already extended the bed out 3 more feet. Two more feet to go and I’ll be ready to sow winter rye in that newly opened part.

I’m also working about 30 minutes a day on cleaning up some of the back border that I didn’t finish last fall because the ground stayed frozen much longer that usual.

Side flower border across from the lower end of my garden.  Top left is a pepper plant right next to the garden fence.  It's almost 6 feet tall and is giving me great peppers.

Side flower border on property line across from the lower end of my garden. Top left is a pepper plant right next to the garden fence. It’s almost 6 feet tall and is giving me great peppers and lots of them. I’m working behind the Ilex trees.  (Look for my blue top.)

There is nothing like eating from the garden.  We started on just “garden food” when the asparagus and strawberries came in and we won’t stop until the garden stops producing.

What’s going on in your garden?

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16 comments to Fall Gardening – Pictures and Notes

  • Jo-Ann

    I’m like you – getting the garlic beds ready. I’m trying potato onions for the first time this year, 2 varieties, yellow & green mountain. I’m also trying leeks for the first time. My onions, Red Creole & Texas 1015, have already been seeded & have sprouted. They’ll be transplanted in mid-December. Here in New Orleans, I’m in zone 9, so we’re slightly different. Spring & fall gardens here are fantastic. Summer heat just about kills everything!

  • Sue

    I love the picture with you holding the sickle. You look GREAT!!

  • Judeen

    I enjoy your blog so much. I too have been a lifelong gardener – living in three different parts of the United States – with different climates and soil types. Have been experiencing a many year severe drought. Huge challenge. I am always excited when I see you have posted a new blog.

  • danita

    So that’s what ate all my spinach and lettuce seedlings, crickets? I finally gave up. I did three different plantings.

  • Mary Yahnke

    I’ve never heard of “potato onions”. Please enlighten me. As always, I enjoy reading your gardening wisdom. Happy fall, Theresa. Today we have temperatures in the mid-30’s and expect frost tonight. I’ve been busy cover cropping.

  • Theresa

    Hi Jo-Ann,
    I grow the yellow potato onions. Not familiar with the green mountain. Let me know how they do for you. Sounds like you’re doing a great job with onions and that your fall garden is going to be indeed fantastic!

    Glad you liked the picture, Sue. It was sort of a fun thing the way Bill surprised me.

    Judeen, sure sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing a many year severe drought. Talk about a challenge! I’ll be thinking of you and hope you’ll let me know when the drought breaks!

    Danita
    , numerous critters can eat seedlings, but crickets seem to be the culprits in my garden.
    I planted all kinds of beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach. It was only after the 5th planting that things started to look as if they might make it. I depend heavily on the garden for food, so I have to keep planting to make sure I give it every chance.

    Mary, potato onions are a multiplying onion. I use them as back up. When they like the conditions, you can get up to 8 or more onions for every one planted. I’ve had them store as long as 18 months.
    A lot like shallots.

    Good to hear from all of you! Thanks for commenting.
    Theresa

  • Sandra

    I too love the picture of you with your sickle held high, Theresa.

    Don’t you wait for frost to winter kill your oats? I have oats and field peas about 2 feet tall -no heads on the oats yet, but I was just going to leave them for the frost instead of cutting down. Please advise when you can. I’m not expecting to get any field peas because they are only at the point now when they might try to start blossoming. My first time with them.

    Those dreamy pinks/purples in the last picture are just beautiful.

  • Theresa

    Sandra, some of the oats that I planted earlier had pollen hanging on the heads and were ready to be cut so they would not seed. Other spots where I planted oats a bit later are still fine. Whatever does not get to the pollen stage I’ll leave to be killed by the cold.
    Field peas will more than likely be fine and either killed by the cold or will start growing again in the spring.
    Glad you like those pinks/purples in the border. I try not to put up flower border pictures on TMG anymore, but I just couldn’t resist this one since it’s so close to the garden.
    Theresa

  • Jenine

    Greetings. I love to read your blog:-) Thank you so much for writing!

    I’ll be planting rye as a cover for the first time this winter – mostly to help work the soil. I live in Norfolk, VA. Do I need to cut it down at a certain time or is it just when I’m ready to start working the beds in the spring?

  • Toni Brock

    What a delight this post is. I love your fabulous garden. What s treat to see you working in it. Are your field peas Austrian winter peas?
    When do you plant your oats.
    When do you plant your potato onions? I hadn’t heard of them either.
    I am very glad to get flower border pictures even on TMG. I think flowers are very important for our vegetable gardens.
    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  • Don Rutherford

    Theresa

    I agree with the other posts. That is a great picture of you holding the sickle.

    What kind of garlic do you grow? and how do you use it?

    Don

  • Theresa

    Jenine, your question is one of primary concern to new cover crop users and rightly so. I’ve written a lot that will answer your question. I would suggest especially reading these two posts first:
    http://tendingmygarden.com/winter-rye-as-a-cover-crop-2-strategies/

    http://tendingmygarden.com/cover-crops-your-purpose-determines-when-you-cut-or-incorporate-into-the-soil/

    You may also want to read: http://tendingmygarden.com/easy-soil-preparation-letting-nature-dig-the-ground/

    If you need clarification or help after reading and pondering on those posts, please let me know.
    And by the way, you must be a new reader — ? — Welcome to TMG!

    Toni,
    So glad you liked the post!
    I plant oats almost anytime I want. I usually begin to plant oats when part of my beds become available in mid summer. If it starts to seed (the pollen will hang on the heads) I just cut it back and it’ll give me more growth until it’s killed by the cold weather.

    I use whatever field peas happen to be available where and when I order. There are various varieties and thus far, they all seem to get the job done.

    As I mentioned in the post, I’ll probably plant potato onions this month. (I’ll do a post on potato onions.)

    And yes, flowers are very important for our vegetable gardens!

    Hey Don,
    So glad you liked the picture!
    I grow primarily Italian (Softneck) Garlic and Music (Hardneck) Garlic.
    You might want to review this post to see pictures: http://tendingmygarden.com/growing-garlic-yours-large-enough-for-you/
    I use it for everything! (I’ll do a post on that!)
    One question for you: Am I understanding that you do not cook with garlic or use it in any way?

    I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments immensely! Thanks!
    Theresa

  • Daniel

    Thanks for your energy, wisdom, and taking the time to write.
    It has still been hot in Southern California, up to the 90s last week. I bought shade cloth (30%) to keep my fall/winter seedlings from being burnt. Still had trouble with some seeds not sprouting.
    I’m now trying growing the seedlings in a flat in the shade and then transplanting them when more mature and then the weather will be colder.
    Any thoughts?

  • Theresa

    Daniel, it sounds to me like you have a good plan.
    I had a lot of trouble with seeds not sprouting this year and couldn’t help but wonder if it’s not more of a problem than we know. I just kept planting and finally I had abundance, but not without perseverance.
    Again, your plan sounds good to me and I think you’ll do well with it.
    Thanks for commenting. Good to hear from you.
    Theresa

  • Anna Dunster

    In the second picture, the one after the harvest picture that has a bunch of greens and a basket of tomatoes, which exactly is the sort of singular plant in a fluffy clump in the front next to the parsley? Long narrow leaves? It looks a lot like something that is coming up in my yard after I seeded an only partially identified salad mix into my bed and I have been trying to find an identification!

  • Theresa

    Anna, that is a cultivated variety of Dandelion greens. It is extremely bitter. Most bitter greens lose that bitterness when cooked, but to my taste buds — this one stays bitter. However, friend and reader, Sandra, from Maryland just loves it sauteed in olive oil.
    Theresa

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