Sunday, September 19, 2021
Self seeding flowers like zinnias, hummingbird vine, morning glory, marigolds, Love Lies Bleeding and Cock's Comb celosia are in full splendor right now. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, Egyptian walking onions, cucumbers, the Mediterranean herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives, savory, dill, tarragon and thyme and all types of greens enjoy the bright sunshine and temperatures in the 70's. We are preserving everything we have extra right now. It is so rewarding to know that we can eat food we grew year round.
In the last week, we have seen the temps go from the highs in the 90's to the highs in the 70's. We have started getting rain as well. Quite the change! It definitely feels like fall is on its way.
I fertilized at the beginning of the month with an organic fertilizer from Espoma. With natural fertilizers you don’t have to worry about “burning” your plants as they slowly release into the ground. This may be the last time I fertilize this season. You should fertilize about once a month through the growing season. You don’t want to shoot too much nitrogen to your fruit producers as you can end up with all leaves and no veggie fruits.
It is important to get all your winter and overwintering veggies and greens up to full size prior to early November. The days are so short come November that there will be minimal growth from November to mid January. A fall edible garden
Our garlic has finished hardening. It is recommended you leave garlic and onions you want to store in 80+ degree temperatures in the shade for a couple of weeks. Ours have been hardening on the covered patio for about 6 weeks. It is now ready to plant in the waning of the moon next month, if you want to follow the moon sign. Garlic can be planted any time between now and end of October. October is prime time to plant garlic
|Okra leaves up front, sweet potato vines, zinnias and cock's comb behind|
This year was not a banner year for my tomatoes and zucchini. I had to move my garden from the south side of the house to the north side of the house near oak and hickory trees. When the veggies didn't do well, I looked up if oak or hickory trees can have exudes from their roots that stunt other plants growth. Come to find out hickory trees are like walnut trees.
The first tomato plants I planted in the garden bed died back over a month ago. The zucchini plant two months ago. I planted new tomato plants in pots over the Fourth of July. I am still getting fruits from the replanted tomatoes. You can get dwarf tomato plants for medium sized pots. I used huge pots so I planted conventional size tomato plants. It is a good idea to do two plantings if you want a lot of tomatoes all the way up to frost. Compact tomatoes for small spaces and pots
There is still enough tomatoes that I am continuing to freeze what we don't eat. Fall is the time that I will take any frozen tomatoes left over from last year and can. Last year, I didn't can as I had so much left from the previous year. I used my last can of sauce today. The freezer is about overflowing with frozen tomatoes. I will have to start canning soon! Preserving the tomato harvest Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty
The chives, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, oregano, parsley, celery, and sage are all doing quite well. The Egyptian walking onions are thriving. All will do well through the fall and into the winter. Use your own herbs for your Thanksgiving dinner
Basil does not survive a frost so I will harvest all of the plants when the forecast is calling for frost and make pesto that I freeze. I may start a plant indoors too to use through the winter. Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil
My pepper plants are still producing. The plants grew quite large this year in the pots. The Pimento Elite and Ancho grown in the ground were much smaller. The sweet red snacking pepper, Ancho and cayenne pepper plants have both green and ripening fruits on it. I have been freezing extras off the sweet pepper plants and drying the Ancho peppers for chili powder for about a month now. They'll produce until a freeze. The cayenne plant I overwintered indoors last year. The Chipetin pepper plant has overwintered indoors for a few years now. Peppers love September
I am getting enough sweet peppers to freeze for the Pasta House salad we love to make, and eat. The cayennes I use to make hot sauce and in salsa.
For peppers, if you want to maximize the harvest, pick them as soon as they get to full size and are green versus letting them fully ripen to red, yellow, or orange on the plant. This stimulates the plant to produce more. If you let them fully ripen on the plant, the taste will be sweeter but the harvest less. I compromise and take them off just when they start to turn. They complete ripening on the counter in a few days.
My okra plants are producing some fruits. They did not thrive in the partial shade garden. They thrived in the south facing garden in previous years. The pole beans are putting on a second flush of snap beans.
|Basil in front, okra to left, cock's comb on right, zinnias in background|
I had 3 cucumber plants. They did well for about a month. I had plenty to eat fresh and make pickles. I am still getting a few fruits. They also did much better in a full sun garden, but still produced in the partial shade garden bed this year. Make your own pickles without a store bought seasoning mix
I am behind on getting my lettuce and spinach seedlings going. I will start them today. It is best if you give them plenty of time to get going before the short days of winter.
I had let the greens in the Earthbox reseed themselves over the summer and there are new lettuce, mustard greens, pink celery, chard, cultivated dandelions, and sprouting broccoli growing. I will cover the Earthboxes with a portable green house later this fall so we can have salads throughout the winter. Homegrown, organic salads in a Midwest winter
Make sure you save the seeds from your best and longest producers to plant in your garden next spring. I also save seeds from organic produce I get from the store that is really good. Some of my favorite tomato plants have come from seed saved from store bought tomatoes. Look for heirlooms as they will come back like their parent from seed. What do the terms GMO, natural, heirloom, organic, hybrid really mean?
|Tomato, horseradish, marigolds, morning glory and zinnias in the south facing garden|
This fall, we will have mustard greens, lettuce, chard, blood veined sorrel, garden sorrel, French and Italian dandelion, spinach, purslane, corn salad, celery, chives, parsley, and sprouting broccoli for salads. Peppers, eggplant and tomatoes will produce until the first freeze. The Egyptian onions will produce all through winter.