Autumn 2020

Jannie Vaught

In the northern hemisphere begins autumm on September 22. If you have noticed the ash and elm trees, even some of the mulberry trees are dropping leaves and are beginning to change from green to yellow. The light is shifting and our length of the day is shortening and with cooler temperatures, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll starts breaking down and the leaves turn yellow, orange, and red. It has been a droughty hot summer and we are still holding to the same pattern, But we are getting storms from the coast and it has brought some much-needed showers and cloudy sky. It is in this transition time between the end of summer and fall that much of my planning begins. The clearing out of old plants, even some light feeding and just taking some time for an out of the sun re. I take inventory of my fall seeds and begin a new garden plan.

Today the standing lightning bug cover area got a mow. Some overgrown, pull your hat off branches got a trim, and I’m still watering! The more I look the more I need to do. Such is the eye of the gardener when the season changes. I’ve been trying something new, I’ve started some tomato seeds outside in trays on the potting bench in the partial shade. Today they went from capsule to bigger pot. The amount was about only 20% of what I initially started. Just experimenting and finding the seeds that will respond to our climate. The variety is Mushroom Basket Tomato, a favorite from Russia, Ribbed, and pleated uniformly large. Firm fleshed with a sweet, mild flavor. Not very seedy. When I found this variety from Baker Creek Seeds. I was looking for a tomato to plant late in the summer or early fall that possibly had some strength for colder temperatures. Will be finding out. Another favorite for fall turnips, and rutabaga, giant mustard, dinosaur kale, beets, and of course garlic. I plant White Icycle radish for soil and table, they will grow deep and break-up stubborn hard soil. All this goes into the plan and as I page through the past years in the garden journal. There are reminders of good and not so productive plants.

I’ve written notes on the pages, plant this one again and some have a big No in red ink. Then the seeds are gone through. Some are saved from here. Some are viable but need a little water on them to see if they sprout and some are on the list to purchase. And local plant nurseries will have seedlings for transplanting by October. This includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower. Seeds are Swiss chard, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, spinach collards, lettuce. mustard greens, Asian greens, and spinach, these are directly seeded or transplants. Beets, carrots radish and cool-season snap peas. Yes, the fall garden is in the planning mode. Time to clean, plan, and begin the process.

Growing green and planning for fall  with Jannie