Getting ready for the autumn garden

Fall garden

Over the past four days, we have gotten the autumn garden prepped and planted.  We currently have it looking great, but I know the weeds will be creeping in.  I hope we can keep a handle on it because some of the garden beds have been overrun with weeds this summer.

Where you see the straw and cages, we have planted fall tomatoes, mostly heirloom plants.  Some of the varieties include Radiator Charles, Eva Purple Ball, Cherokee Purple, Sioux, Oxheart, Grandma Suzy, and Amish Paste.  We did pull a few plants from the greenhouse that have been holding on but getting pretty spindly.  We planted them very deep.  We were also told to use high quality mushroom compost (probably not what you can get at the big box stores and home improvement centers).  We found some from a local greenhouse.  When planting, we put a gallon can of this compost in the planting hole and then top dressed with a bit more.  I also watered them all in with fish emulsion.  I hope that we can get some fall tomatoes since our summer crop has been pretty disappointing.  I have read recently of gardeners in our area carefully tending their fall tomatoes and getting tomatoes for Thanksgiving and even Christmas.  Wow!

In the middle, you will see our rainbow chard.  It is getting quite bitter, but it looks so good, I hate to pull it out.  I have some green onions planted next to that and recently filled in with spinach seeds.

In the foreground, I planted something new, Red Malabar Spinach.  I purchased these seeds in May when we visited Seed Savers Exchange.  It is really not a spinach, but it is a heat-loving green from India. It has red leaf veins and stems and is a climber.  It is pretty bitter too and I have not tried cooking with it yet.  I have mixed it in with regular spinach and I do like it that way.  We just put a support on the row so I am anxious to see what it looks like in a couple of weeks. 

My shallots are just now coming up, so I hope I did not plant them too late.

Finally, here is my best hope for fall—my sugar pumpkin.  This is one plant that I just planted in our “compost pile,” a pile of oak leaves and garden refuse that has accumulated for many years.  The pumpkin is going nuts and I have counted numerous little pumpkins plus a ton of blooms.  I do have to keep the squash bugs picked off it and diligently water it.  (Since it is not in the garden proper, I sometimes forget about it.)

Sugar pumpkin plant

 I hope I can post some interesting pumpkin recipes this fall.

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