September 22, 2010

Fall Garden 2010

As my summer garden is winding down for the year, my fall garden is just beginning to make it's mark. I confess that I was slow to get it planted. According to this nifty planting schedule by zones, I should have started planting in July. But is was sooo hot in July. I couldn't imagine cool weather loving plants wanting to start growing in such heat. So I procrastinated. Then August was rainy and the soil was often too wet to work!  Argh!

We started preparing the potato bed for fall planting right after we harvested the potatoes. The soil was loose and easy to work. One thing I did get planted in July, was zucchini. This is not technically a fall crop even in my part of the South. It was a "what the heck" decision, in hopes first frost would hold off long enough for us to enjoy some. It sprouted quickly, but for awhile there, it looked as though the little plants were goners. Some of them made it!

It looks like we'll have zucchini to enjoy after all.

The other thing I planted early, was potatoes. It was a bit of work, because the ground was so dry in July. In between my two potato trenches, I planted cabbages, from plants I purchased because I missed the cabbage seed planting date. So far so good. Then I read in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, that potatoes need a rest before they are ready to sprout.  In other words, they can't be planted from a freshly harvested crop.

Sadly, this proved to be the case.  The plants you see in the potato trenches, are actually volunteer tomatoes!

Even so, I do have potato plants (Red Pontiac)!

These are volunteers in the old potato bed. Didn't they read the same book I did??? There are about 6 or 8 of them, and they are very welcome.

Also planted are Yellow Ebenezer onion (seeds)...

So far a no show.

Detroit red beets...

Doing very well but needing to be thinned.


This is Waltham 29 and not doing so well.
Lots of gaps between seeds.

Lettuce and radishes...

No lettuce yet (Parris Cos from saved seed),
and only a few radishes (Pink Beauty).


Saved seed, purple top white globe.

And carrots...

These are the Scarlet Nantes from seed I ordered last spring.

Quite a few carrot seeds were washed out of place from a heavy rain! They are coming up nicely though and ready to be thinned.

September has been dry again too, so I've had to do some watering. I'll start mulching soon too. I still have a few things I can plant, like mesclun, and maybe more radishes and lettuce. First frost should be around the middle of next month, but I'm still experimenting with the best time to plant fall crops. Last year some things simply overwintered and then started producing in the spring.

I do know one thing, it's so much more fun to garden in cooler weather.

Fall Garden 2010 © September 2010 by Leigh at


Nina said...

I hadn't realized that about potatoes, but it would never be a factor here since we only have one growing season for crops like that. Seed potatoes are just always saved from last years crop.
Those beets will make a lovely salad when thinned. Fresh fall zuchinni would be so nice. We ate it regularly during the summer, so much so that the boys were gettign a little tired of it. We haven't had any for several weeks though.
I have mesclun, spinach and cool weather lettuces, but didn't get them planted. Maybe it will be an early spring crop if I cand find black ground cover and get the hoop row covers easy to access for the spring.
I'm already starting to think about next year's garden - the changes we'll need to make and the new varieties to try. I'm saving some of our pumpkin seeds because they've done so well.

Sharon said...

I cannot believe you're talking about planting. Our morning temps are at freezing so we are down to green tomatoes, maybe some zucchini and thankfully our delicious potatoes. Count your blessings!

Woolly Bits said...

I agree - I prefer working the beds (umph, the garden beds I mean:)) in autumn, too... in spring there are so many things to take care of, but usually it has calmed down a bit more in late summer, at least for me. and we often have a good spell in september, which makes planting and sowing so much easier. I am just a bit worried about the coming winter... will it be a very cold one like the last? most of the plants we thought had been lost, have recovered, but another winter like the last would surely finish them off. well, there isn't much I can do about it, there's only so much frost-free plant space here, that I can save only the most valuable things - and only those in pots to boot. the one thing last winter managed though: no rogue potatoes coming out anywhere this spring:))

Cynthia said...

I really missed the fall planting dates here (OK), too, for the same reason. One thing our local extension office told me was that since seeds are planted so shallow it is really important to make sure they don't get too hot. One way is by planting them in a little trench so the walls of the trench offer shade. I hope to put that into practice next summer.

Leigh said...

Nina, I'm hoping my harvested potatoes make it until next spring so I can use them as seed potatoes. I really should have planted later, but the seed potatoes I ordered came early and sprouted early. So far so good in the pantry, so we'll see how long they last.

Yummy idea about the beet thinnings!

Yes, I'm already thinking about next year too. It's never too early to plan!

Sharon, they are duly counted! We are fortunate to have such a long growing season. It's my main consolation when we're suffering through the southern summer heat. :)

Bettina, what a relief to have those plants recover. I'm wondering about winter too, especially since we had a cooler August than usual, relatively speaking. Do you have much room to keep potted plants over the winter?

Cynthia, what a great tip. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try that next sumer too. I think heat is why my fall gardens have never been a success. This one looks pretty good so far, except for the no shows. Yet, maybe there's still hope for them too.

Anonymous said...

My turnips are about the only thing doing very well right now. In fact, I think I'll be harvesting my 1st crop next week or so. I started these at the beginning of August.

I am so jealous of your beets. I've given up trying to germinate beets until it cools off here.

Gardening in the fall/winter in SW Louisiana is a pleasure. I rarely have to water or weed. I just have to check to see if something is ready to harvest.

Woolly Bits said...

Leigh, we have a porch and a small glasshouse along one other room. and a "dome" (a self-built greehouse with corrugated plastic cover) and the polytunnel. that used to be plenty, but last winter was extremely hard (the last 10 years we barely made it below zero, so nothing really froze, not even in the tunnel!) and we found out that apart from the glasshouse along my room none of the others was totally frostfree. which of course means that we can only save very few plants in pots. I'll dig out the dahlias and a few herbs, but other than that there won't be enough space. I'll put the most important plants in that glasshouse and spread the rest according to hardiness and importance:((( that's all we can do, heating the dome etc. just does not make economical sense. what irks me most - I lost all of my artichokes in pots - and the one I gave to my friend made it through the winter and gave them 10 artichokes to boot:)) how unfair is that?

Leigh said...

Paula, how sad that I didn't garden much when I lived in SW Louisiana. Sounds like I missed a good gardening climate. I have to confess that this is the best my beets have ever done. Of course, the telling will be in the harvest!

Bettina, yes, storage space is always a problem. It sounds like you're doing the best you can and hoping for the best. Who knows what the winter will be like? I'm guessing your glass house picks up some heat from the house(?) I've pondered having a greenhouse, but like you say, heating it is a problem. That's a long way down the road for us. I do like the idea of your dome. I wonder what Dan would think about something like that.

Mama Pea said...

Manohmanoh, you've really got a lot going on in your garden! Seems so strange to me up here near the tundra where we've expecting a killing frost any night now. On the one hand I'm jealous of you planting and getting luscious fresh produce from your garden but on the other, I think I need a gardening rest!

Vicki said...

Your beets do look amazing. I am also jealous because I don't even have a vegie garden this year and also because we are expecting frost any time soon as well, so little would survive at this point. I can live vicariously through you and your garden though, so keep the lovely pics coming.

Woolly Bits said...

if you want pix of the construction phase, let me know - I can send them via pm. the base for the plastic is made from timber - we tried to be as cost effective as possible and metal bows were far too expensive. it is more weatherproof than the polytunnel, this was the first time in 15 years that we've had frost in there!

Anonymous said...

Leigh, what a beautiful's just perfect! Hugs!

Benita said...

Well, most of what you planted seems to be coming up nicely. You are lucky to have a longer growing season then we do.

We just got our first rain since July. We were so happy to see it, we almost went out to dance in it.

Lee said...

Wow, your winter garden looks great. We need to get going around here. Garlic still needs to go in the ground, and I'd like to get a few more greens going before winter sets in.

And the best part .. the weeds grow slower in the winter too! :)

Leigh said...

Mama Pie, would you believe I haven't done half of what had hoped to do? Where does the time go!? Yes, it's interesting to see what other gardeners are doing in different parts of the world. I have to say that I apprecite our long growing season very much.

Vicki thanks! This is the best beets have ever done for me. Hopefully they'll keep on!Considering that you just got your land and everything that you do have going on, no garden this year is understandable!

Bettina, actually I'd be very interested but I hate for you to have to send them that way (pm = postal mail?) Amazing that you've gone all those years with no frost. It does sad things to one's garden.

Pam, thanks! I'm happy with it.

Benita, having grown up in the midwest, I definitely do not take my growing season for granted. Happy news on your rain! Hopefully we'll get some this weekend to break our long September dry spell.

Lee, thanks! So true about the weeds! LOL.

I forgot about planting garlic! Thanks for mentioning that. So far my garlic harvests havests have been poor, but I hope to change that soon.

Anonymous said...

I am so envious of your gardens, our summer garden was totally taken over by Stink Bugs this year and the plants we wanted to plant for the Fall garden were eaten while on the patio waiting to be planted. They especially love tomatoes and peppers.
The Apple Orchards are being taken over also, so most of this year's crops will have hard spots from the stink bugs' sting. If this continues Middle Atlantic Farmers will have to file for disaster relief because of a bug.
Any one have any ways of controlling the Stink Bug?