We just returned from a 3 week + 1 day trip to Europe. We spent our time in England and France, including London, Buxton, Canterbury and Paris. We made a similar trip last year, but a lot of the trip ended up going badly. We decided to retrace many of our steps this year and have a better time. We still had a few glitches along the way (like being homeless in London after dark, but that’s another story), but overall
we I maintained a better attitude and as a result we had a much better time. It was a very good trip.
Three weeks is just enough time to spend away. By the end of the trip we felt like we’d done everything we wanted to do, and were anxious to get home.
I set out a ton of fall seedlings before we left, and direct seeded mesclun and carrots. I set the soaker hoses to run a few times a week, but hoped we would also get rain. The soaker hoses are great for established plants, but don’t do as well for seeds or seedlings in the raised beds since the water tends to drain straight down, rather than spreading on the surface of the soil. It looks like we did get a few sprinkles of rain while we were away. The mesclun has come up, and a few carrots are germinating here and there.
We also seem to have gotten frost at least once, because the sweet potato vines got nipped. The tomatoes and basil only really showed signs of getting frosted on the edges of some of their leaves. I think the tomatoes must have created their own little microclimate since they’re grouped closely together.
The cold has seemed to really encourage the greens to get moving. The kale has grown tremendously, as have the Brussels sprouts. I planted the Brussels sprouts last fall, and they are just now starting to produce sprouts. They’d better be good after all this time! I tucked a few escarole plants under the sweet corn in the summer, and they have really exploded in the cooler weather.
The butternut squash has also put on several new fruits, which is exciting because we really didn’t have a very good yield before we left.
I planted two varieties of shallots, including the coveted gray shallots. We didn’t have great success with the shallots we grew this year, so hopefully these do better. The leeks I planted at the beginning of the year are getting big and will be excellent alliums for the winter.
I’m going to try to keep all of the beds planted all fall and winter. Once the summer crops like the sweet potatoes and tomatoes come out, the garlic will go in. We’re shooting for 400 heads this year. And after the garlic is in, I’ll look for any gaps where I can plant more greens or other fall/winter crops. Between the coldframes and plastic tunnels, I’m hopeful we’ll continue feeding ourselves this winter.
What’s going on in your fall garden?