Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Garden

It's been a while, I know, I know. Reasons but no excuses. This is the time of year to enjoy the heat being replaced by the cooler drier air. What a relief.

About three weeks ago, I pulled almost all of my summer veggies and prepped the beds for my fall plants. This amounted to a pile about 8' cubed. Without a chipper/shredder to prep them for the compost pile, I was forced to simply let them rot in place. Here's what I did with the tomatoes I saved. For the heirloom tomato sauce recipe, that is oh so good, click here.

Below is a sample of my last summer veggies:

Before this, I used my soil blockers to start the seedlings for the fall garden. Holy cow do those things work well. However, I planted a little too early, I was impatient. One third of the transplants died because of the heat, despite being sprinkled two to three times per day.

So I seeded the beds where it was bare and threw some really good compost on top, about a half inch. Most of those are starting to surface, I happy to report.

I decided to keep a permanent row of herbs: oregano, thyme, fennel, and rosemary. I have to harvest the sweet potatoes. The basil are going to seed so I can harvest the seeds for next year.

This fall garden will have romaine lettuce, carrots, swiss chard, a few spinach plants, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. I also planted garlic for next summer's harvest.

Lessons learned:
- Prune cucumbers to single vine and grow vertically for greatest yield.
- Tomatoes are vines. Treat them as such - trellis them and prune all suckers above first flower.
- Peppers greatest yield is in August so don't pull them too early.
- Soil prep determines, to a great extent, the success of your garden.
- Fresh basil is delicious in pesto, alfredo sauce, or eaten by itself. Same for Oregano.
- A slow drip irrigation system is terrific. It provides deep watering, promoting deeper roots, and causes no soil crusting.

I continue to work in and on the fall garden and am planning a fairly significant rainwater harvesting system. I have yet to see if it makes financial sense. Stay tuned.