But those few days of cool weather were enough to start the leaves on the trees turning to fall colors and the plants in the garden getting that end of season look even though they are still producing. It's that time of year where I am anxious to start cleaning up the gardens and am also making plans for work I want to do over the winter in preparation for next spring's planting season. So, let's take one more turn around the gardens to see how they are doing. Be sure to put on bug repellent because the chiggers and mosquitoes have been pretty fierce recently, so much so that I tend to keep the garden work to only that which needs to be done on a daily basis right now. My to-do list will continue to grow until we have a big enough cold snap to clear out the pests.
Okay, enough kitten distractions, but then this is the internet so it has to happen sometimes, right? As for the current state of the kitchen garden - things are still going fairly well. I left the various pepper plants and marigolds in the kiddie pool from when we had gone to Kentucky in July which helped with watering over the past month or so. We are still getting Yellow Italian(Sweet) Peppers and Cayenne Peppers and our rabbits are enjoying some marigolds in their greens everyday. That is everyone except Charlie, he doesn't like marigolds so he gets extra zinnias.
Our strawberries started producing again a few weeks ago, not abundantly, but I am picking several every few days and they usually go into the rabbit forage as well. During the spring and early summer I dehydrated the strawberries as I picked them because there was never enough at any given time to make anything. By the end of the season I was able to make jam and a batch of strawberry rhubarb shrub, but with as few as there are at the end of the season, I am willing to let them go as bunny treats. I am also getting a variety of herbs out of this garden which we dry to add to our supply of winter greens for the rabbits.
|The Amish Paste tomatoes just refuse to give up. They|
have very few leaves left, but still keep producing tomatoes.
|I need to keep finding supports to hold up the spindly|
branches of the St.Pierre's as the tomatoes weigh them down.
|My clay cow peas have had some|
exceptionally long pods this year.
I have not been as pleased with my recent experiment with my winter squash. I tried planting some later in the season as I was told it would help with the problem of squash bugs. However, I still had lots of squash bugs and even more of another kind of little black and yellow beetle that is eating the squash blossoms. So much so that I do not think I am going to have any squash germinate from this second planting. It has been an interesting year in that vegetables I usually have no problems growing did not do well and others that I said this was going to be my last year to try them because I never have had much success with them ended up flourishing. But, I have learned that is the way it is with gardening. Nothing is a 'sure thing', every year is different even if you do everything the same.
|The ground cherry plants have died off and I left the|
last of the ground cherries to seed the bed for next year.
On to the north garden. The Seven Dwarfs (fruit trees) seemed to have survived the invasion of the caterpillars. Once I discovered the invasion, I went out almost every day and inspected them, removing at least a half dozen different types of caterpillars. It was very interesting how many different kinds there were and that they all appeared within a few days of each other. I also liberally sprinkled diatomaceous earth (DE) on all the trees (a couple of them have grown taller than me over the summer) and that seemed to have stopped more invasions from the eggs that were on the leaves.
I have planted some kale in the north garden that I hope will do well this fall. I had to sprinkle it with DE as it was being eaten and I have also noticed something has been digging in that raised bed, but hopefully it will survive. As I move from garden to garden I am making mental notes as to what I am going to be moving around this winter. For instance, these blackberries in the bed next to the kale, I planted these two years ago when I was running out of time and had to get them in the ground somewhere and this was supposed t be temporary. This winter I am planning on expanding the bottom garden, yet again, to make a new berry bed.