This time of year always makes me a little sad. It’s hard to see my lovely spring/summer veggies breathing their last breaths, choking and sputtering until I finally put them out of their misery. Pulling plants is so hard for me. I just can’t seem to accept that plants have a life cycle but I am learning. And so, after pulling the last of the struggling kale, cantaloupe, cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant my garden has gone from a lush field of edibles to a bunch of dirt. At least I covered the dirt with leaves so it looks kind of pretty, but it’s not nearly so inspiring when it comes to dinner time.
Last week I suffered a particularly depressing moment when I had to buy kale for the first time since April. I bought zucchini too. It was not amusing. Now I’m happy that I took some pretty photos so I can look back and remind myself that I really did manage to grow some food. I am still amazed that food grows right out of the ground.
Now that fall is here I’m faced with some decisions, like whether to plant a winter garden or give my gardens a rest and try to nourish them for spring. I’m leaning toward nourishing because I’ve been planting in the same spaces for 3-5 years and I know my soil is depleted. But I do really want to plant some potatoes and onions. And beets. And more chard and kale. So I guess I’ll figure out a way to do it all!
I’ve been reading up on cover crops to try to figure out the best plants for my poor depleted soil. I snagged some buckwheat through a seed swap (my newest addiction) so I’ll be growing that with peas, flax and maybe mustard in some of my beds. Apparently they are all beneficial in some way so I figure the more the merrier!
I’m trying to pay attention to planting things that attract beneficial insects too. We have loads of flowers in spring but fall thru winter we don’t have much to offer. I’ve been very happy to find some new beneficials in the garden this season and I’d like them to stick around. One of the coolest new critters is the Green Lynx Spider which, despite scaring the crap out of me, is pretty cool looking. When I read that they eat those stupid cabbage white butterflies I decided they were my new favorite scary insect. Here’s a kind of blurry photo. It’s the best I could do without getting too close.
One quick way I’ll be expanding my garden is by using a pallet box and growing potatoes container-style, adding dirt as the plants grow. I’m ordering proper organic seed potatoes for the first time and looking forward to piles and piles of delicious spuds. Onion sets are also on the way, so I think it might be time to start digging and notch out a little more veggie garden space in the yard.
And for anyone who wondered how my great tomato experiment worked out…
let’s just say I’m not impressed. Five tomatoes later and my plants are done. I guess they’ll be the next to get yanked.
But one thing that I really love and appreciate about gardening is that no matter what, you always have the opportunity for a fresh start!