A Rest From Our Labors

Autumn harvest is my favorite time of year and I always look forward to it. The colors, crisp mornings and hints of change in the air are an exciting time.

Migrating birds pass through, leaves fall, the dogs grow their winter coats and we gather the last of our summer garden, wood to warm hearth and home and look forward to an end to the heat and humidity of the summer. The other morning I was amazed to see a large blue heron in the garden rapping "Speedy", my plastic "heron" on the noggin, knocking him over before flying away on those amazing great wings. Flocks of gathering geese fly over head in the evenings, the robins have gone.

I must say that I learned a lot in this year's garden. Glad to say that I actually kept a journal of sorts. There will be many changes in the layout and some planting schedule changes as well. For instance, the water-melons were a wash due to my watering mistakes. All the flower beds were lovely and still are but I can barely see them because of placement.

The tomatoes did great until wiped out by some type of blight which they actually strangely recovered from but too late to produce more fruit. Tim made wooden frames to grow them in and that worked out very well, the wire frames topple over even when staked. We will need more of those next year and I think I won't be so quick to put them in the ground and might try some succession planting there too.

Garden beans did great, but were planted too closely together for the humidity here. That was not too troublesome except for the succession plantings. And, since one of our aims is to share produce with the community, ease of harvest is also an aim.

Raised beds are the way to go for potatoes in our garden, but the Irish Cobblers did not do well and I don't want to waste time and space on them next year. The Yukon Golds are marvelous, but we will see how they keep. I will also put in red potatoes next year.

Over all, the summer squash did well. I inter-planted white radishes and let those go to seed to drive away squash beetles and what I call stink bugs. The vines recovered from any onslaught by these critters by continually keeping the roots covered with earth. I also dusted twice lightly with "Seven" and smashed the egg clusters several times.

I am harvesting winter squash now because the vines are dying back. The skins are firm and they should keep well. There was a problem with the neighborhood kids smashing squash outside the fence. There was only one Birdhouse gourd on the vine, probably for the same reason.

Plant more onions next spring. And find out why the garlic goes to pieces when dug up although the greens have died back.

I also put in a small fall garden. Turnips and winter onions to over winter. I will push some garlic cloves back into the ground today and see how they do. We are enjoying radishes now and I like the lettuce but Tim does not enjoy the strong flavors of the varieties growing out there. He is used to Romaine.

That's about all for now. I have ordered a couple seed and tree catalogues and am saving seed from what did well. Tim and I dug up some trees in our "nursery" and replanted them about the yard, they look pretty sick but we'll continue watering with a rooting hormone until the ground freezes. We'll see how they look in the Spring.