Saturday, October 6, 2018
This is a time of year that most summer vegetables are winding down and cold crops are growing strong. With frost, many summer vegetables will die and cold season crops will get sweeter. The biggest difference between spring and fall is that the days are getting shorter instead of longer. For planting in the fall, add 2 weeks to the "Days to harvest" on seed packets to compensate.
We continue to fertilize our vegetables monthly. Fertilizer stimulates new growth so don't fertilize the plants that are "tender"/susceptible to frost. This is also a great time to re-mulch the garden beds to give an added blanket of protection to prolong the season. The mulch will break down over the winter, providing additional organic matter.
Be sure that you are saving seeds from your best producers for next year's garden. Seeds from plants that do well in your garden are the best to save as they are proven to like your garden conditions. Always save seed from the best tasting, best sized veggies. Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver
Our zucchini and cucumbers have slowed in the last few weeks. It is a good idea to replant some zucchini seeds in August to keep zucchinis on hand in the garden. It is not a bad idea to replant tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini in early August each year to keep these plants at top producing vigor until frost.
Our tomatoes and eggplant are still producing well this year. For tomatoes, be sure to take all the tomatoes off the vine before it frosts. You can either wrap the green tomatoes in newspaper and store in a cool place to ripen, make them into relish, or eat them as fried. For fried green tomatoes, we use Andy’s Cajun batter. Gives them a nice, spicy flavor. A late fall tradition-fried green tomatoes!
Any plant that has a disease, do not compost! Throw away in the trash. Composting may not kill all spores and you could be spreading the disease next season wherever you use the compost. Composting is possible in small spaces or even indoors
Peppers love this time of year. They are native to the mountains so they love this weather. They will continue to produce even after frost. To prolong the season, I put the pots up against the house. You can also bring them indoors and they will produce for weeks inside. When spring comes and you put them back outside, they will get a jump start on producing next year. Peppers a Plenty in September
I have two Ancho Anaheim peppers that are ready to harvest. I did not get very many off the plant, but they were nice sized and enough for the chili powder I’ll use for making chili this winter. The Pimento Elite I planted this year produced many peppers but they just wouldn’t turn red. Peppers get sweeter when they ripen, but are good to eat even when green. The jalapeños were the same, many peppers but stayed green. The cayennes were prolific and slow to ripen.
For the sweet peppers, the rabbits kept them ate back to the stems for most of the year. I finally put a wire cage around them and they are leaving back out, but likely too late for any peppers. The one pepper they didn’t eat was the Sweet Red Banana. I got a few off this plant. The taste was very nice.
I harvested the basil and made pesto in mid-September. The basil plants are quickly regenerating. I should be able to get another harvest from them before frost hits. These are very tender annuals and will turn black with the first frost. You can dig them up and bring them in for the winter. Place them in a full sun spot. You can put them back outside again in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil
I planted some chard, spinach, kale, lettuce, seeds in Earthboxes and pots in mid-September. All are doing well. Many lettuce seeds have sprouted. My potted sprouting broccoli, celery, arugula, corn salad and parsley is still producing and will continue through the winter. Plant lettuce seed now for fall and winter harvest...
Cabbage, kale, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, chard, onions, arugula and other cold crops get sweeter with cool weather and a nice frost. If the taste of these are too strong for your palate right now, give them another chance after frost. Our Egyptian walking onions are lush and green. The bulbs are filling out nicely. Egyptian walking onions
This is also the perfect time of year to reseed your lawn or transplant perennials. I separated flowers and herbs to take to our lake retirement house. I had two really pretty Italian dandelions in the Earthbox. I took the smaller one and replanted at the retirement house. Dandelions are perennials and very healthy to eat. The Italian and French types have been bred to have large leaves. Great to make salads.
Many herbs are perennials-garlic, sprouting onions, lavender, oregano, chives, sage, tarragon, thyme, savory, salad burnet, and rosemary. Bay laurel is a perennial at our Zone 7 retirement house, but not in Zone 6. I have kept it in a pot for years, but will be planting it at the lake. It will actually become a tree when planted in the ground. The rosemary I planted last year at the lake is quickly becoming a very large bush. I give as many branches as possible away! Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden
Fall is a great time to cut back your herbs. Save the stems, place loosely in a paper bag, put in a dry location, and in about a month you will have all the dried herbs you and many family members will need for the next year! Make your own "Herbes de Provence"
Fall is a bountiful time for gardening. I have planted many winter hardy varieties of lettuce, kale, collards, mustards, and cabbage to keep the garden producing into December and hopefully beyond. With the portable greenhouse, we will have greens all winter. How to extend the garden season