The last of the summer vegetables have been harvested and the garden has been cleaned up. Yup, it's sad but true, summer is over. But don't worry there are cool weather crops to fill in for the long gone summer veggies. It is always nice to get a fresh start in the garden and living in Tennessee allows many fresh starts for the vegetable garden. The above picture shows 'Nest Egg' gourds and the last of the green peppers. Note: Tomatoes are notably absent as they did not do well this year. The beans were left to go by on the vines and the zucchini and cucumbers just never did materialize for me this year. Sigh.
I wanted to comment on the next egg gourds and also on the butternut squash. Mom and Lola we finally ate the little Waltham butternut squash and I found them delicious! Most easy to stick in the microwave too. Speaking of gourds and squash I was a bit overwhelmed with all the gourds I grew last year so I decided to try a different kind this year. These 'Nest Egg' gourds were most easy to grow and quite prolific. The seed package said these gourds are called nest egg gourds because farmers sometimes use them to fool a hen into laying eggs by placing one in the nest. Interesting note. I will dry them and figure out something to do with them that I may post about later this year. In the meantime if you'd like to see last year gourds do check the archive under gourds for several posts on gourds found here.
I have cleared most of the beds. The bananas have not yet come down. Even with a hard freeze this last weekend the garden is still standing tall and looking good, but I know its days are numbered. My only goal for the vegetable garden this winter is to be able to grow lettuce throughout the season. In order to achieve this I have done a few things. First of all I scraped about 8-12" of soil from the above bed and added a 2" layer of horse manure to the bed then backfilled with the removed soil. I also added a coldframe to this bed. The coldframe is equipped with glass windows that can be ventilated. It is oriented to the southwest and I hope it and the rotting manure will provide enough heat to allow lettuce to be successfully grown all winter. Wish me luck. In addition to lettuce I planted: beets, white radishes, two types of spinach, kohlrabi, Broccoli Raab, and Chinese cabbage. Some of the vegetables are planted in the coldframe and some are outside of the coldframe. We'll see what comes of my coldframe/manure experiment during our monthly updates.
If you have not yet planted your fall crops you need to get going. It is not too late to plant garlic and onions but most fall crops need to be in and growing by now for a successful harvest.
Prepare all of your beds you are not using for fall crops by applying a layer of compost to each bed. I always lay out next summer's garden at this time of the year too. I find that come next year I may have forgotten where I grew the tomatoes so I label each bed appropriately this year. Rotating is very important in order to avoid a build of harmful pests in the soil.
Regular readers will know I am usually not too organized with planting my vegetable garden. I can never tell you which is the 'Bradley' tomato or which is the 'Beefsteak' tomato because I am bad with labeling and paying attention to cultivars. That is beginning to change. I have labeled all fall crops with the type and cultivar of vegetable and have resolved to only grow what I enjoy eating most. For example growing pole beans in my garden makes no sense since I can't stand beans. I can surely use the spot for something I will enjoy more-like zucchini. This year has made me see that as much I love growing things I will need to prioritize for next year or suffer with very few veggies again. Therefore the variety of vegetables I grow next year will be pared down quite a bit.
Not much more going on here in my Tennessee vegetable garden. Now let's see what Skeeter has going on in her Georgia garden.
Skeeter's Georgia Veggie Garden:
I am happy to say that I did indeed find one more cucumber hiding amongst the mess of the gourd vine in the veggie garden! We picked Sweet Yellow Peppers, Hot Jalapeno Pepper and Tomatoes from the small planter.
Did I mention we picked tomatoes? Wow have we picked tomatoes this year! The Roma tomatoes really do love our soil conditions as they thrive for us each year. I have many containers of maters frozen for soups and sauces this winter.
I am pulling these 5 from the pile to show them a bit more clearly. These are the Cherokee Purple Tomatoes! I am still watching 6 more on the vine in hopes they grow a bit larger before picking them. The birds are getting to the tomatoes for the first time this year.
I had a rash on my face and I think it was from eating so many fresh tomatoes. When I stopped eating them, the rash went away. I have not tried eating them in sauces but Restaurant ketchup, pizza and spaghetti sauce don't seem to have an effect on me. I hope my frozen tomatoes made into sauce will not make me break out again as it was itchy and unsightly too!
I should have some more peppers to talk about next month as they are continuing to produce as are the gourds. The gourds will be the main topic next month for sure!
in the garden....