Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Fall Garden

I've planted my first ever fall garden this year!

I absolutely adored my summer garden. Well, I should say I'm still adoring parts of it. Even now, the tomatoes and peppers are coming in like crazy. I can't believe I'm still processing bowls full for tomatoes and it's October! It will be all over when the first freeze comes, but until then I'm savoring every moment knowing I won't taste another fresh tomato until next June.  

The fall garden is a complete lesson in trial and error. Not only have I never planted during this season to know how the change in weather will impact the crop, I've never planted a single item that I'm giving a shot this year. 

Turnips, carrots, kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts are all getting a go in the garden. The kale is already coming in like a champ and nearly ready for harvest. I've already planted several more rows to keep the abundance coming. The turnips are similarly coming in beautifully. My biggest debate is whether to top them and use the turnip greens now while they're tender, or to let them chug along with the root until it's ready to come up out of the ground. Any advice from you experts out there?

The carrots, spinach and Brussels have been another story. The Brussels are spotty at best, but since they take forever to come up and are at their peak when it frosts, I'm keeping patient. The carrots are painfully slow and painfully difficult to determine whether they're even coming in or not. And the spinach in my deck planters, well, the damn squirrels have already dug up half of it burying nuts. On a positive note, the bunnies that annihilated my spring garden have not come back, so I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing each little row of veggies sprout without disturbance. Maybe I should have put the spinach in the main garden...

Despite the ongoing roller coaster of "will it or won't it work," the thought of having a functioning garden and fresh produce in my yard well into November and maybe even December brings me an insane amount of pride and joy. And with a freezer stocked full of summer veggies to enjoy through the winter, it makes every hour of work, every sweat-drenched and dirt-laden outfit, and every mosquito bite (and there were LOTS of bites this year) all 100% worth it.

Are you gardening this fall? If so, what are you growing and how's it going? Any tips you can share with a fall garden novice?
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