Monday, September 21, 2015

Garden Renovations

September and October typically offer beautiful weather in the Tennessee Valley, and that makes these months excellent for garden renovation projects. Cooler, drier weather makes working outdoors a pleasure. Soil amendments added now will have time to break down and contribute their intended components to the soil chemistry by spring, in time for next year's plantings.

Some of our trees and other plantings have grown so much that they have now begun to shade the vegetable growing beds. These beds will need re-locating, so we have taken down the tomatoes and okra that were in them. It is a bit early. The plants would have continued to bear, albeit not as well as if they were growing in full sun, until frost. But we don't want to do the work when it's cold and windy, so we will forego the remaining fruits.

It is worth making the point that your garden, first and foremost, should be about you. Your interests, your tastes, and your needs should all be reflected in your garden. Never fear to rip out a plant that is not doing well, or that you find you don't like as well as you thought at first. You are the controlling hand in the garden.

Despite there being only about 30 days until the first suspected frost, you can still get in a crop of fall greens. Try arugula (pictured), bok choy, radishes, mizuna, and chervil. All of them mature quickly and all are frost tolerant. Plant a patch of Seven Top Turnips within the next week, and you should be able to enjoy several pickings of greens, as they are frost hardy. Plant lettuces in containers; one of our favorites for this purpose is Tom Thumb. If frost threatens, container plants can be brought indoors for the night, thus extending the season. You should be able to harvest a nice salad for Thanksgiving dinner.

It is not too early to begin thinking about your vegetable garden for next year. We are launching an exciting new project that will result in another how-to book. More about this as the season progresses, but for now, think about what you would grow in only 100 square feet of outdoor space.

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