Sunday, September 13, 2015

Slipping into the Fall

First radishes of the Autumn garden.These aren't sweet little radishes, they have a spicy kick. They'll battle with the mustard greens in my lunch time salads.
Kale is in the forecast, looming large, nearly bursting through the white row cover low tunnel.

Yesterday I worked on the patch containing lettuce, Napa cabbage and bok choy. Some of the rows were crowded in spots. So I thinned a bit, carefully digging up some of the extras and replanting them in bare spots in the rows. And I replanted seed (again) in the half of the lettuce row that never germinated. I'm hoping for better luck now that it's a bit cooler and, perhaps, a bit damper.

Heavy rain washed the wood chip mulch
in my garden paths, exposing the black
plastic landscape fabric beneath.
That allowed me to use up what was left of three packets of lettuce seed that got left out in the rain. On Thursday night we got nearly 3.5 inches of rain, at least half of it falling in 45 minutes or an hour. The chipped wood mulch on the garden paths washed badly in the heavy downfall. After the rain lightened a little, I headed to bed, grateful to lay my sleepy head on my pillow. As I relaxed into my bed my brain fell on a forgotten fact: I had taken a basket containing seeds that I intended to plant out to the garden early that evening, but spent my time out there on other tasks. The basket did not get brought back inside.

So I pulled myself out of bed and grabbed an umbrella. The basket and its contents were soaked, caked with mud on the bottom. I pulled out some newspaper and opened the soggy seed packets, emptying them onto the newspaper. Surprisingly, a lot of the seed was still dry. But it's all going to get planted, just to make sure it doesn't deteriorate from dampness. So there will be lots more radishes and salad greens in the fall/winter garden.

Summer vegetables continue providing bounty. My freezers are nearly full, meaning I must find some other way to preserve the crops. Tomatoes shrivel in the dehydrator and the stash of canning jars thins as I frantically make vinegar pickles with cucumbers, green beans and long beans.

In the south garden, a hill of summer squash grows, showing its first little scalloped fruit. Squash bugs took out all the other squashes planted earlier -- mercilessly taking down very young plants. I commiserated with a grower at the farmers market one Saturday and she said they usually plant a crop, then later plant another crop well away from the first. The first crop gets wiped out once the squash bugs overtake it, and the second crop is safe -- for a while. So I planted what was left of my summer squash seed in the south garden, probably 100 feet away from the north garden plot. I planted them near some healthy datura plants that had "volunteered" there, hoping its fragrance would overpower the scent of the squash plants. So far, so good. Doesn't this baby squash look lovely?

Monarch watch: Two beauties have flown, leaving behind the empty chrysalis skins. Another chrysalis has darkened, I hope as another butterfly prepares to emerge. Several green jeaw

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