Tuesday, August 12, 2008

'Fall' Planting and Other Garden News

For several years I have wanted to try a fall garden, but by the time each spring/summer growing season began winding down, I just did not have it in me to once again turn the soil and prepare it with a shovel and a rake. With a tiller, fall planting became a reality this year, and yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to plant our first fall garden (of which everything is planted in the summer, but is harvested in the fall.)

There is one thing that I have never enjoyed about gardening and that was when it was time to end it, but now a whole 'new' garden will be able to be enjoyed for several more months! Needless to say, I am quite excited! The fall garden will be fairly small this year just to see how it goes, but I already have plans for next years'. :)

Before planting, there was some preparation work that needed to be done which included mapping out where different vegetables were to go. (The past several vegetable gardens that we have had I have done this, and it has helped me in many different ways to have a record of what was planted where and when, how much of it, etc.) The planning is always a fun step for me, and once I had a general plan, it was time to plant!

The tools of the trade: stakes, a hammer, string, scissors, a hoe, a rake, a yardstick, the garden 'map', and most importantly . . . seeds!

Dad had already tilled the soil for me so the first thing to do was to stake out the rows. This is probably my least favorite part of planting not only because it can become monotonous after awhile, but I also have a difficult time hammering in the stakes in a straight line. Thus why you will only see photos taken from this angle . . . ;)

Staked and ready to plant! Now comes the fun part . . .

Planting! Sugar snap peas were the first to be planted, and I put in a single row of those (we still need to put up the trellis, though). Not only can I not put in stakes in straight lines, my single rows generally are a bit crooked, too, as you can see in the photo. :) At least crooked rows do not affect the growth of the plant! ;)

Once the sugar snap peas were planted, shell peas and green and red leaf lettuce seeds filled a few of the wide rows. Then it was time to make a raised bed for the carrots. We have never had much success with growing this vegetable in the past, but I really wanted to try them this year and Dad gave the go-ahead. Having a tiller work the soil deeply I am sure will make a great difference in their growth, but I decided to make a raised bed, too, in hopes that we will get a nice crop of long, straight carrots.

To make the bed, I used a rake to pull the dirt from the walkways into the area where the carrots were going to be planted. It took awhile to rake all the dirt up, but once it was done, I smoothed the top and the sides and then planted! Hopefully the carrots will appreciate the extra effort and grow well! :) Beets and green beans were also planted and spinach will be planted in a few more weeks.

As to the vegetable plants in the rest of the garden: the onions have almost all been pulled and cured, the last of the potatoes have been dug and enjoyed, the tomato plants are managing to produce at least a few tomatoes for us, and the zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumber plants continue to produce. The pumpkins plants are doing fairly well, though powdery mildew began growing on the leaves recently. From what I have read, this is a fairly common malady to affect pumpkins (and other cucurbits as well). I had read several places to try a baking soda mixture and spray it on the plants to get rid of the mildew so I am trying that to see if it will work or not.

And I cannot post a gardening post without at least mentioning the corn. :) This past week has been such a fun time for me. . . I cannot tell you how many times I have been out to the corn patch looking, counting, feeling, smelling, enjoying. :)

At last count there were 207 ears of corn growing (I only counted the ones where I saw the silk, though). And so far, no deer or raccoons have bothered the corn!

As the ears continue to grow and move closer to being harvested, I continue my attempt at 'preventative' measures against the critters who might like to enjoy an ear of sweet corn for a snack. One of these is to brush my collie out by the garden and spread her hair around the patch. She has finally begun shedding her coat, and I thought that I might as well use the shed hair for something! :)

And so the cycle continues . . . weeding, watering, 'de-bugging', harvesting and preserving.
Ah, the joys of gardening!


  1. Your corn looks wonderful! We have a few small rows of corn and we're hoping they will produce.

    I can't wait to see how your fall garden turns out!

  2. When does fall begin to hit your area? It's hard to imagine putting in a fall garden already!
    You rows look nice and straight from my viewpoint, or is it just our monitor? :o) It is hard to get a straight row and you are so wise to stretch a string! I'm afraid the rows that I do wind there way through the garden before getting back to where they are supposed to be.
    The corn looks absolutely delicious and I bet y'all are so eager to have some.
    Do you mail order your seeds or do you buy them locally?

  3. I am thinking about trying a fall garden this year, too. :) I'll look forward to seeing how yours turns out! It is interesting how different our growing season is here in Oklahoma from yours! Our corn is long gone....I am waiting to put in the fall garden until it will be cooler. It has been very hot and dry until the last few days, which have been rainy/misty. PTL for much needed rain!

    Hannah Burnett

  4. I agree that it is hard to think of fall planting when the weather is still HOT here in southern CA.
    Fall seems like a long way away yet! But I know the time will pass quickly.
    I love hearing of your productive ventures through your pictures and writings! You always brighten my day!
    Blessings to you!

  5. I love your garden posts, Sarah! ...Although I am tempted to envy your nice black soil, huge garden plot, and flat land. You are so rich, to have all that garden to love!

    I would love to step through my monitor, into the pictures, and run that soil through my hands, smell the dirt, finger the seeds, handle the hoe, pick the produce...you understand. :)

    We're getting ready for a fall garden here - and again similarities strike; it's our first fall garden, too! :) We're planning carrots, beets, lettuce, and garlic.

    You make me so eager to get started!

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I think the raised beds should help with carrots. I had hilled up a row too and my carrots were great! They seem to not like growing against resistance. Another thing...make sure you thin them to the recommended spacing on the seed packet..they need room side to side too! Good luck!

  7. I hope that your corn produces very well for you and your family, Joy! :)

  8. It does not generally begin feeling like fall here until mid-September or so, Ashley, but lately our highs have been only in the low 80’s with lows near 60 degrees! Certainly not a typical Missouri August! We are enjoying it, though. :) It does feel a bit strange to be planting a ‘fall’ garden in the summer, but in order to have the plants reach maturity before our first fall frost, the beginning/middle of August is the planting date for most crops.

    I can assure you, Ashley, though it may not be seen very well in the photo, my row is crooked! ;) But I suppose straight rows are more of an aesthetic thing than necessary! Plants will grow just fine whether the rows are crooked, straight, in a circle, or any other imaginable design. ;) So I supposed that your planting would be considered very creative! :)

    We are eager to eat sweet corn! It has been many years since we have enjoyed fresh picked corn.

    Yes, we mail order our seeds . . . what about you?

  9. I hope that if you do plant a fall garden, Hannah, that it grows very well for you! Yes, our growing season is quite different from yours. :) Though, our corn was planted a bit late in the year given all the rain that we had in the spring so it is a rather late crop. What vegetables do you grow besides corn?

    I am so happy for you all that you received rain! From what I have heard it has been quite dry in parts of Oklahoma. Maybe the rain will cool things off a bit, too!

  10. It is a bit difficult for even me to think that we are planting our fall garden already, Amy! :) Though, the cooler weather we have been having recently makes it a bit more believable. ;) When does it generally begin cooling off where you live? Yes, fall will be here before we know it! I am looking forward to all that goes along with fall and winter!

  11. I am so glad that you enjoy them, Amber! I wish that you could have joined me out in the garden too . . . it would have been even more fun to have someone to be planting with! You sound like a girl after my own heart . . . I do not believe I have ever heard someone else say that they loved the feel and smell of the dirt as it runs through their fingers! :)

    I do feel quite blessed to have the garden/soil that we do! Though, I can assure you, the soil could definitely use some improvement . . . there is a great deal of Missouri clay in it!

    How exciting that you are planting your first fall garden! I pray that it grows well for you. Have fun planting! :)

  12. Thank you for the encouragement and the advice, Mrs. BB! That is wonderful that your carrots grew so well for you! I am sure that you were excited about that. :)

    Yes, I will be sure to thin the carrots! Thank you again! :)

  13. Good luck with the carrots - you have given them a good start!

  14. Welcome to my blog, topveg, and thank you for commenting! :)


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