Now that Fall is officially here, it’s time to start thinking about Fall crops like apples, pears, and squash. I had planted some Hubbard Squash, but while I was on vacation, the vines died. And since I was not home at the time, I wasn’t able to investigate properly to determine what buggies or pathogen got the better of them. However, I’m looking forward to making apple sauce and apple butter again this year from local, (or at least regional) apples, since I don’t have any apple trees on our little plot. I don’t do anything fancy to my applesauce, and that’s probably what makes it so yummy when we pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches for a late dinner in December when neither of us feels like cooking.
Fall is also time to start thinking about what some people call “putting your garden to bed”. This is one of my most dreaded gardening chores. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with Fall. It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, in my opinion, and the temperature is often comfortable. Sure sometimes it’s chilly, but I love a good sweater and snuggling with the Jasmanian Devil. But the hate part of this love/hate relationship is that it is the worst time of year for my allergies and it signals the oncoming cold winter weather.
Often, my garden beds don’t get tended to as they should in the fall. Between the shorter hours of daylight, work, and my aforementioned allergies, I don’t spend nearly enough time out in the yard as I should. Every year I continue to hold on to the ideal that this year will be different, that this year, my garden will be “put to bed” properly. But tomorrow is October and I still need to cut down some flowers, weed, clean up the veggie gardens, cut back the hops, harvest the Sun-chokes, and mulch the strawberries.
At least this has been one of the driest Septembers on record for our area, so the beds are finally drying out and slowing down. I’m still getting green tomatoes from my tomatoes plants! The tomatoes ripen well on the counter in a colander, so I’ll continue using this method as long as the weather allows, if I don’t make one more batch of green tomato salsa. I was able to take advantage of the dryer weather and planted some garlic for next spring. I’ve never given garlic a try, this should be fun adventure to carry through to the next season.
But before I start day dreaming about next year, I need to remember that I still have things to do in the garden this year! The fun is not over yet. I do have to wait until a hard frost before I harvest the Sun-chokes, so that can stay on my to do list a bit longer. And I have to be thankful that I have started to realistically envision what I am capable of accomplishing in my garden on an annual basis. While my garden didn’t produce as well as I would have liked, (we had an exceptionally cool and wet summer, even for us) I have to keep reminding my self that I was, and am, currently able to keep up with my plans from last spring, so here’s to staying on track and staying grounded in the garden.
The Jasmanian Devil eating green tomatoes while standing IN the raised garden bed.