Welcome to my October garden and a virtual “walk-around”.
From experiences in the past I know that people can look at my garden, even when it’s in full production mode, and not even know that I’m growing food. Nonetheless, most of what I eat comes from my garden.
As you can see in the photos, it’s not based on how most folks plant gardens.
But there’s a purpose for the positioning of every plant, be it considerations for rotating crops, space available, or the fact that some plants grow better in some sections than in others.
The 4 crops that have the most influence on where everything else will go are winter crops being planted now (lettuce, cabbage, kale) and onions, potatoes, and tomatoes planted next year. Placement for those will be determined this month and next.
Entrance Gate to My October Garden
The picture below was taken at my entrance gate on October 13th. Hopefully you can click and enlarge it, enabling a better view.
In the right lower corner of the photo the entrance path begins.
The middle path running from the lower end of the garden to the upper end doesn’t show well in the picture. But it runs to the right and left where the light green lettuce and cabbage in the photo ends.
I’ll also show you close ups of some of the fall/winter crops as we go along.
One of Bill’s Favorite Flowers Greet Me
Dahlias were a favorite flower of Bill’s. Thus, I like to have them in the garden. If Bill were here at least one of each color would be on our kitchen table.
arugula, cabbage, beans, tomato, summer poinsettia, blueberry bushes, and mache
Early Jersey Cabbage
Ten other seedlings planted in another bed didn’t make it. I’m guessing I was over anxious to plant and they were not big enough to withstand some insect damage. Other seedlings are started even though it’s later than desired.
By the time I got out to my garden the year I broke my leg, my great arugula plant had disappeared. Great – because it came back every year and then reseeded to give me more plants.
That was a big disappointment, especially since I had no idea what variety it was or where I got it. And I’ve never read in any catalogue of an arugula variety that comes back every year.
To make it even more difficult, varieties shown by various sources look alike.
Thus, I ordered several varieties this year. Knowing spring plantings will bolt the minute it gets warm I planted anyway. And in numerous places. One variety (of course I don’t know which one!) seeded wonderfully and many seeds germinated.
I transplanted these 3 at the end of this bed which will probably be covered when temperatures go below 28ºF.
They do NOT look like “my” variety. However, if they reseed again and give me lots of new plants next year it will keep me going until I hopefully find the variety that was so grand.
Snap beans (a/k/a string beans)
As you can see, I plant beans in small patches. I love steamed fresh beans, especially with a baked potato.
I hate canned beans. Also dislike frozen beans unless added to soup. Freezing a quart or two gives me more time to make the soup if I don’t get to it when the beans are fresh.
When these beans were up about 2 inches slug damage was evident on every leaf. They outgrew the damage.
If you look closely you’ll still see a few leaves with holes in them.
By following my advice in the post, Slugs – You Can Control Them, you’ll get rid of the really big ones. After that you’ll just be dealing with tiny ones that have just recently “hatched”.
The slug damage on the bean seedlings didn’t last long enough for me to use Sluggo to stop them from eating. There are years that I don’t use any Sluggo, because damage is minimal. When I do have to use it, it’s usually just where I’m having trouble. And then once does the job.
Moving Across the Middle Path to Beets
October beets might look shabby but don’t be fooled. They’ve been in ground since April. Greens, which were then beautiful, provided a nice addition for salads.
In the heat of summer the greens died back.
Now that fall is here the greens are being renewed.
Over 42 years I’ve grown many varieties of beets. I’ve found Detroit Red to be one of the best you can grow.
They can get large and even appear to have moss on them and still be wonderful after they’re cleaned up and steamed or roasted.
Heading to the Upper End of the Garden
Chinese Cabbage – A Great Plant to Have
Chinese Cabbage was new for me this year. I decided to grow it along with several other varieties in case I was not able to get organic cabbage at the store this year.
This spring I had at least 18 plants. They all did great, but I didn’t get but one head! Can you guess why?
These plants grew so quickly and when I had nothing else to go with my grated carrots (until my other plants got larger) I used the leaves of this cabbage. I picked them so much that only one made a head. (What a beautiful and delicious head it was! It being delicious was NOT anticipated.)
Buy Once – Have Chinese Cabbage Seed Forever
At least that seems to be the case, because when I finally stopped picking the leaves (as other things became available to eat) the plants grew large, produced stalks, flowered, and set seed.
When I planted the seed this fall it germinated in record time. And as you can see the plants look great! There are at least a dozen. If they continue to grow at the speed they’re growing now, they’ll be the first cabbages to head. That means I’ll have about a months worth of cabbage as I wait on other varieties.
A Little More Than 3/4 of the Way Up the Garden Looking Towards the Lower End
The five rows (to the left of the middle path) were filled with onions this past winter into summer. After onions were harvested buckwheat was grown, pulled and laid on top.
Oats – Cover Crop
Rows 3,4, and 5 show light green. That’s a cover crop of oats coming up that will remain in the ground, although it’ll winter kill. Most likely I’ll put tomatoes in those rows with the “killed” oats next April or May.
One of 5 clumps in the garden. This is on the left hand side of the 4th row in the previous picture.
Parsley is included with my chopped vegetables almost everyday. (Sometimes I forget to pick it.)
Carrots are in the first bed in the picture above.
If you grow carrots you know you have to keep them moist to get germination. After that, you still have to keep them from drying out until they get a good grip on the soil.
I never wanted to pay that much attention to them. But I’m having to change all that. With food shortages on the horizon, I don’t want to take a chance on not being able to get organic carrots.
(When I broke my leg and couldn’t move, I survived almost totally on cabbage and carrots for four months. Not the most diverse diet, but you can do a lot when you have to.)
Only about 45 carrots in this bed. No where near enough!! But it’s a start.
Pictured below is the tall dark green plant on the left side of the 5th row in the photo taken October 20.
I don’t like to grow hybrids because I want to save seed AND I want the additional nutrition provided in open pollinated varieties. But I make an exception when it comes to Carmen peppers. They’re my favorite pepper.
As I mentioned in my last post peppers march to their own drummer. And the drum beat can be different each year. But whether they’re late or early, overall they come into their own in the fall.
This plant has given me two red peppers thus far. The many remaining are still green, but I’m hopeful. And if they perform as usual, I’ll have lots of red peppers.
See this post for pictures of a Carmen plant with lots of peppers turning red.
This California Wonder Pepper was HUGE! It had not one pepper on it– not even a blossom until September. By the 15th of September it was heavy with peppers. I counted 31 peppers from the front and I couldn’t get behind it without breaking some limbs.
It has amazed me!
Winter Density Lettuce and a Potato
Below is my first of three fall plantings. (I need 3 staggered plantings in order to get lettuce now through early summer of next year before next years planting matures.)
Soon I’ll place the concrete reinforcing wire hoop tunnels over the beds. Then when temperatures are forecast to go below 28ºF I’ll cover the hoops with row cover fabric as I’ve shown in other posts.
Lush growth tops the beds that grow my potatoes. Most varieties are about finished when hot weather arrives and top growth disappears. But in my fall garden, spring seems to come again and potatoes start growing again adding to my abundant harvest.
Buckwheat and Snap Beans – Upper End
October Garden Harvest for a Day’s Meal
October Garden Cucumbers
This is my first year for cucumbers in the fall!
Below is the Marketmore cucumber planted this fall. Even though the plant is no where near as lush and full as summer plants, I’m delighted with it.
As you can see, some of the leaves have downy mildew on them. I pull those leaves off when I go by.
As of today I’ve had 5 cucumbers. We had rain the other night and 4 that were small are almost ready to pick!
Summer plants produce dozens of cucumber and they’re a bit more flavorful than these in the fall. But usually there aren’t any this time of year. So I’m delighted.
And by the way:
And by the way, long time readers know I always reply to comments. They’re so important to me and I consider them the best part of putting up a post.
The last two posts I missed replying to comments for numerous reasons. But I will reply soon. Those comments added so much to my post. Your thoughts help give me so many ideas.
And it’s important to me to know that you’re benefiting from my efforts — or at the very least enjoying the read.
Hope you enjoyed the virtual walk-around. You’re always in my thoughts when I’m in my garden.
Wishing you a great fall garden!
All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.