Our Fall Gardening Experience–So Far!

Our fall garden, growing in the middle of our old spring garden

It’s now mid-September, and Ed and I are in the middle of our first fall gardening experience.  I must say, it’s been entirely different from our spring experience!  Of course, one thing hasn’t changed–those L-O-N-G rows! (Look closely and you will see Ed at the far end of the rows, in front of the corn!)  At least there are only 3 1/2 rows this time around, instead of the dozen or so that we planted back in the spring!  Less rows equals less work!

The first thing we’ve noticed is that our plants have grown slower this time around.  The seeds sprouted just as quickly as in the spring, but the growth following the sprouting has been slower.  Cooler nights, perhaps?  I never realized it would be this way!

Back in the spring we were plagued by lack of rainfall, so we had to constantly water everything.  Dragging nearly two-hundred feet of water hose got old in a hurry!  Meanwhile, our fall garden has been constantly flooded by heavy rainfall!  Some seeds rotted in the ground instead of sprouting, while other young plants simply rotted at the stem after sprouting.  One can always irrigate, but there’s no way to counter too much rainfall!  We lost our entire crop of fall potatoes, with the exception of four plants!  Most of our green beans didn’t make it either–and we planted those twice!

This past spring, we were invaded by hundreds of grasshoppers, thrips, and squash bugs.  A few of these insects are still around, but most of our fall crop damage has been caused by caterpillars.  We have no less than three different kinds of caterpillars munching on our garden plants daily!  Those pesky caterpillars seem to be resistant to our garden sprays and dusts, too.

We planted a few pumpkin plants, but those quickly died.  Our three squash bushes have been holding on, but look terrible–thanks to a few squash bugs, some mold, and those pesky caterpillars.  So far we’ve harvested a total of three squash off of the bushes.  Our cucumber bushes are sort of pitiful looking, too, but they’re still hanging on.

Our corn looks awful, and it’s doubtful if we will get any ears off those stalks.  The caterpillars had a “field day” with our corn.  They burrowed themselves down into the middle of the plants and feasted on the fodder before we realized they were even there!  The result was many stalks of corn with long shredded leaves.  It’s a sad sight.

There is a bit of good news, however!  The peas and butter beans seem to be doing okay, in spite of a few “holy” leaves.  One row of peas actually has little peas on it already.  We have a couple of nice-sized tomato plants with blossoms, and three surviving cabbage plants–even though they, too, have a few “holy” leaves!  Perhaps we’ll get to sample a few more fresh vegetables before frost falls in just a few more weeks!  I’m hoping 🙂

Our carrots are up and doing well, and on Tuesday of this week,  Ed planted some greens for the second time.  Our first crop of turnips drowned.  I’m hoping to have some fresh mustard or turnip greens for Thanksgiving.

Ed and I have discovered that there is one advantage to growing a fall garden though.  Even though the seeds and plants grow slower–so do the weeds.  It takes a little less effort to stay ahead of the weeds and grass.  In addition, even though the pesky caterpillars love to eat holes in our garden plants–they help eat the weeds, too!

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Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 8:44 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks. I enjoy reading about your adventures in the garden. I have never tried growing anything edible but perhaps one day (year) I will give it a try. And, yes, what about the grasshoppers this year? I can’t get over how many and how BIG they are around here this year. Is it one of those seven year things?? ha

  2. I hope you get your Thanksgiving greens!

  3. yikes,those are long rows.
    I’d say one of the reasons for slower growth in addition to the cooler temps you cite might be that the sun’s angle is less direct.

    Not sure if you’ll get tomatoes. I have too much shade to grow veggies but before I conceded and gave up trying, my tomatoes never got red. Other people were raving about theirs and I was just getting little green ones. By the time they were pink, frost was forecast. Since yours are at this stage, you might have the same experience. But then,
    maybe you don’t get frost. In that case —- never mind.

  4. Maybe you should just transfer all of the caterpillars you find on your good plants to the weeds! 🙂

  5. Great update and thanks for sharing the photo of the rows with Ed barely visible in front of the corn. You had reported on the dimensions of the garden, including the length of the rows, but seeing them in that photo, oh my! I am amazrd you had any energy left to prepare and eat summer veggies, let alone harvest and can all that you did.

  6. No matter what you manage to glean for all your work, it’s beautiful and amazing. I wish I had more space so I could have a bigger garden like yours.

  7. All these fresh veggies are gonna make for a yummy Thanksgiving dinner. I’m gonna have to start calling you Mrs. Greenjeans. LOL


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