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Garden – Late October – Pictures and Garden Talk


Entering my garden and looking left towards the upper end.

The garden this time of year has it’s own beauty.  I especially enjoy feeling the warmth that’s still in soil even though the air is cooler.


Eggplant. About 8 remain on the plants.  Most are hidden by the foliage but you can still see at least 5 if you look closely.

Eggplants sit in my garden without growing until conditions suit them.  Then about August, when you’d think that what was going to grow should already be grown, they “zoom” grow.  Next thing I know, these tiny plants have turned to giants with all kinds of eggplants growing at what seems like lightening speed.

 The Black Beauty Eggplants have been especially beautiful this year. The Black Beauty Eggplants have been especially beautiful this year.

The Black Beauty Eggplants have been especially beautiful this year.



These peppers (Carmen – my only hybrid) are giving me the most red peppers of any I have, so these are the ones I covered when frost was expected the 18th.

I eat about 3 raw peppers a day and I’ve been eating that many at least since the first of August.  Most of them are from the peppers in the picture above.  That’s at least 290 peppers with lots more on the plants.  I just harvested two dozen red ones that are in a basket in my veggie storage area in the house.


Chard from last fall.

I have only 3 nice pieces of chard like this one.  I picked them all the other night for dinner and it was the best I ever tasted.  Hopefully, it has time to replenish itself for another meal before Thanksgiving.


Basil, lima beans, snap beans, yellow squash, peppers, a few potatoes, and even some ginger that doesn’t show too well in this picture.

As we approach the end of October this spot is giving me lots of food to eat and preserve for winter.

The snap beans I’ve been harvesting for at least two months.

I have three more patches of lima beans about the size of this one.  Fresh eating has been very enjoyable and I have at least a gallon in the freezer for winter.


Escarole lettuce that reseeded itself from last years.  I’ve picked it to death, so it may look a bit roughed up, but it keeps replenishing itself.

I love having escarole reseed in my garden.  It’s a great backup when I’m low on my tender lettuces. If you cut it into thin shreds it’s a bit more tender (or easy to chew).



Sorrell and sedum with late afternoon sun.

This sorrell was planted last year and it wintered over.  It stalked and set seed this summer, which I cut back after a while.  Numerous plants are throughout the garden.

Used with other salad greens its lemony flavor is not as pronounced as when you eat it by itself.


A few radishes in various spots. Some lettuce seedlings.  The green in the upper right corner is cultivated dandelion which is a bit too bitter for my taste.  But I let it reseed in the garden because of the blue “chickory-like blooms and for the sake of diversity.

I planted 3 varieties of radish this fall.

When I first started gardening Cherry Belle was the only one I knew about.  After growing it this fall, the first time in many years, I feel I wasted my space.  It’s no where near as good as French Breakfast and German Giant.

German Giant is particularly long lasting.  You can let it get big, and still have a delicious radish.


Summer Dance Cucumber.  I picked this one October 17th, but since frost didn’t touch the garden, I still have another one that just might have time to grow this large before another frost.

I’ve never had cucumbers in the garden past September.  This is a definite first.  The vine is nothing like the lush vines of summer, but I sure am not complaining this late in the season.

And by the way, if you love cucumbers but have trouble digesting them, try Summer Dance.  It’s a nice one.


Potato. Henderson lima beans, some of the green beans, and yellow squash.

The night prior to the expected frost I harvested 12 yellow squash; 4 good sized ones and 8 smaller ones.  Frost didn’t touch my garden that night and I sure would have liked to have had those baby squash back on the plant.  Depending on the weather, it might made more.

I picked two small zucchini before the expected frost.  Could hardly believe my eyes today when I noticed two more had formed.


Tomatoes and basil.

Basil was all over the garden this year.  As you know if you grow basil, it will go to seed very quickly unless you cut it back to prevent that.  I cut mine three times with the hedge shears this season so I’d have basil with my eggplant, which is always late in the season for me.

Great looking tomatoes and they've been delicious. But vines are almost bear now. I don't ever remember tomatoes looking like this in my garden, even this late in the season.

Great looking tomatoes and they’ve been delicious. But the vines are almost bear now. I don’t ever remember tomatoes looking like this in my garden, even this late in the season.

The Big Beefs (the open pollinated one, NOT the hybrid) are the only regular tomatoes remaining.  Ate the last Mortgage Lifter and Cherokee Purple last week.

Matt’s Wild Cherry is still going like crazy.  Bill loved to snack on those when he walked around.


Jimmy Nardello Pepper.

Jimmy Nardello is a lovely pepper and a good looking plant, but I found it lacking it taste.  Sauteing helped the taste some, but I probably won’t grow it again since I eat most of my peppers raw.


A quick harvest for dinner and lunch the next day.

I’m still starting Winter Density Lettuce.  Numerous plantings are already in the garden and looking good. I’ve also planted more escarole, endive, Black Seeded Simpson, and Winter Wonderland. (Winter Density is my main lettuce for winter.)

Arugula is another back-up green that I always have in the garden.

Will harvest ginger soon. Can hardly wait to see how it fared.

Started brussells sprouts several times, but only about 4 seedlings made it to garden.  Some bug really enjoyed them. Two seedlings remain in the garden, but I assure you I’m not getting  brussels sprouts this fall.  As small as the plants are I’m leaving them just to see for myself if they succumb to the cold.  They probably will but I’m going to leave them nonetheless.

A few beets in various places.

Mache is coming up, I think.  (When it first germinates it can look like weeds.)

The potatoes have been delicious this year.  Yukon gold, Kennebec, Rose Gold, and Buttes have been our favorites.  Norland and/or Chieftans (red potatoes) are always good to have on hand because they come in so early.

I didn’t plant butternut squash, but ended up with 6 nice squash from a volunteer that was hidden away.

Final Thoughts

I’ve come up with a way that will enable me to do the work necessary to cover my winter crops.  I’ll show pictures and talk about that in the future.

Let me know how your fall garden is doing.  I’m always thinking of you when I’m out there in mine.


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  • As always at this time of year, I am just thankful things are dying and giving me a break!! My collards and kale are doing well, I have about ten potato volunteers that survived the harvest and have produced another small harvest. I did NOT cover during the frost, so my basil and peppers are done. Harvesting my loofahs, the last of the sage and oregano, trimming back my asparagus ferns, and weeding the bee garden. And of course, garlic goes in this weekend.

    Looking forward to the end of gardening and the start of wool spinning season!

    My big plans for 2016? Putting in some more raised beds – I am finally giving up on the rocky garden beds!

  • I had big beautiful VFN tomatoes this year, the first year I planted them. The stinkbugs ate them before they could be picked. They left the Big Boys alone but loved the VFN.

  • Good morning, Theresa!
    Your garden looks so full and productive, even at this late date. It is a thing of beauty, no doubt.
    It is a testament to how diligent you are at tending it.
    Our season here in SC normally runs longer, but our recent hurricane and flooding cut it short. (I did make pistou from my basil, so I can enjoy its freshness all winter.) We are still very wet @ Le Farm, but every ray of sunshine is helping.
    I read about Bill and wanted to say how sorry I am that he is gone and hope you are ok. You know that your sacrifices over the years were not in vain. It gave you both the chance to live out your passion…what a rare gift and honor! Thank you for sharing it all with us.
    I have big plans for my gardens next year. If I could execute them half as well as you do, I will be thrilled! Retirement (and a new marriage)will allow me to be a full time “FarmHer” as of March 2016…my chance to live out my passion. I used to think it was the harvest that excited me but it is actually the intoxicating scent and feel of dirt. I was born that way! Lol
    Take care,
    Suzanne @ Le Farm

  • Theresa

    Boy, my garden has been done for over a week now, cucumbers for over a month.

    I started growing them on a trellis about 5 years ago. I really saves space and they do twice as well, but I have not had a variety that goes into September yet,

    I love the German Giant radishes, and also the watermelon radishes grow bigger, longer, and are delicious.

    Thank You for the blog on egg plant, I grew some 25 years ago only to have something eat my first one the day I was going to pick it. It burrowed up right at the back of the plant. I guess the critters know when they are ripe. I haven’t planted them since, but we moved twenty five years ago and you have reminded me to try them again, I love them. We’ve eaten meals out of the garden almost every night and have feed most of the neighborhood for free. I grow twenty times what we can eat, except for the green beans, which we hogged for ourselves this year as only half of them grew this year, they got washed out by the heavy rains we had early.

    over fifty years of gardening and I still look forward to next year, and thanks to You, eggplants will be added. 12 squash plants can be cut in half or at least reduced to 8. I’m also going to plant garlic in my raised bed in a few weeks for next year, which will be new for me.

    You are so appreciated and loved for all that you do. Thank You


  • Beautiful garden, Theresa! What were the little orange flowers in the foreground of the tomato and basil picture?

    My garden was a little better this year than last year and yielded more food. Your pictures have inspired me once again and I have more ideas for next years garden. I’m not sure that my garden will keep me fed until next spring but it’s closer to doing that than it’s ever been. Maybe next year?

  • My garden:
    Pole Beans reviving from our horrid heat and begining to set fruit again.
    Cucumbers still cranking out fruit:Persians and English. Pickling cukes died off early due to aphids.
    Roma tomatoes were great while they lasted. Lots of canning done. Heirloom varieties were all a big fail. Still earing some grape and cherry tomatoes.
    Some eggplants still producing.
    Brassicas in the ground and looming pretty happy.
    Last falls chard is needing pulled out, but still giving some leaves. The spring chard should continue to give leaves, but I want more, so have put in some rainbow, and also some red and yellow chard plants.

    Need to clear out some more beds to put in snap and snow peas.

    Can safely grow lettuce now that cooler temps are here….hooray!

    Still picking jalapeños.

    Beets and carrots need to be replanted as germination rates have been poor.

    Should be able to garden through most of the winter, as ours are fairly mild. That’s our reward for surviving the heat we suffer through in summer!

  • Theresa,
    I hope to make a presence in the fall garden as much as you are. Maybe next year. You are an inspiration to me. I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor though. I too have had bountiful crops of tomatoes and various pepper types. After a summer of relentless rain which the wood chips took in stride, then the weather changed, the previously mentioned took off and we truly enjoyed an extended garden season, while many other gardeners gave up. I am truly beginning to see the results of a good foundation starting with soil. I will think of you as I prepare for a full year of produce for the 2016 year. Keep the posts coming whenever you feel inspired to do so. They are educational as well as inspirational. I just enjoy your writing style as well.

    Thankful for your posts

  • I love Matt’s Wild Cherry. It’s a wonderful one to plant for reliability. This was a delightful tour. Thank you.

  • Enjoyed seeing your most productive garden. Curious to know what latitude/zone your garden is in as I am experiencing very similar results here in Northern Nevada, Carson City.

    Picked a cucumber yesterday and still have one more on the plant, numerous black beauty eggplant ready to pick. Picked another zucchini/yellow patty pans and have more growing and sweet long peppers turned a beautiful red color with streaks of yellow and green (so yummy and sweet smelling).

    This was our first year at a successful Fall planting (thank you Theresa) 2 kinds of kale, turnips, beets, leeks, mustard greens, bush beans and carrots thriving under frost barrier cloth. Have been picking out of there for a couple of weeks now. We put plastic tubing (1/2 inch) bent to form a tunnel and putting on the white cloth was the only extra effort. So happy it worked as we have tried numerous times in the past. Still awaiting the first frost, but the temps have been down to the mid thirties.

    Happy gardening everyone.

  • Dumb question–how do your plants like escarole reseed through mulch? Or is there enough space under the plant?

    I’m waiting for a few frosts to harvest jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, turnips and carrots. I buy pet cedar bedding, moisten it, and layer and store in Large Rubbermaid tubs. They stay crispy all winter. We have a cold storage room that the previous owner converted to a library room–aargh! My husband refuses to convert it back so that’s why the Rubbermaid tubs.

  • Thanks for these wonderful comments and insights into what’s happening in your gardens!

    Betty, the “orange” that you asked about is summer poinsettia. It’s not really a flower per se but
    the orange looks more like it was “painted” onto the leaf.  It’s an annual that I allow to reseed in my
    garden each year and use as cover in some beds and borders.  It’s a beautiful plant and
    I enjoy it a lot.

    NOT a dumb question Julie. While it’s true that heavy mulching can prevent some things from reseeding, others don’t seem to mind that at all. Also, as the summer wears on the mulch gets thinner and thinner. By the time fall arrives, mulch can be sparse. It covers the ground but not so much that seed can’t germinate through it.

    I always worry the mache that reseeded won’t germinate. But there’s lots of it out there this year!


  • Greetings from the NorthWest Theresa,

    Your garden looks awesome, as usual, and I’m so jealous of your very long growing season. I had a small taste of your growing season this year. The normal frost to end my season is Sept 15th, this year we didn’t even have a light frost until Oct 19th!!! with only one other since. My tomatoes survived (under cover) and am still harvesting Mortgage Lifters. Looks like the fun is about to end soon as next week we are forcast to have hard freeze.
    Tried some giant German radish and their HUGE! My yellow squash vines grew so big they tried their best to climb out of my fenced garden!!(6ft Chainlink) The bell peppers are almost done but were great eating.

    Happy gardening,
    Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

  • Theresa,
    Do you think the craze about raising red wiggler worms is valid and vermicompost is all that they say it is? I would rather do that than grow cover crops. What do you think?


  • Steve, there are lots of ways to add organic materials to the soil. Compost is one (what the worms make) and cover crops are another.
    The more diversity the better, but do whatever you can. If you can only do the composts via the worms, so be it.

  • Oh Theresa that was a very delightful tour of your garden. Yes you truly are inspiring. I just harvested, sliced, smoked, dehydrated what I think may be the last big harvest of the San Marzano tomatoes. I to am very excited to harvest my first crop of ginger. Thank you for encouraging me to give it a try. I keep looking for some mache to reseed. I have been delighted to have some wonderful chard reseed. I also have some very large strawberries! I hope they have enough light and warmth to ripen. That would be a great bonus. Be well and know you are so loved.

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