Fall Garden

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peeking pumpkin

The coming Fall harvest is growing fast at Leafhopper Farm! Pumpkins, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, and kale dominate the front garden with abundance. Seeds of radish, lettuce, chard, onion, spinach and more are ready to seed next year’s veggies and must be gleaned out before rains set in. Note in the photo below how much space squash need to flourish. These tendrils will need to be cut back to ensure the fruit already developing on the vine will fully mature. There is one verity of squash which has grown very large, sometimes turning orange, but maintaining a zucchini like patterning on the rind. I’ve harvested four green ones and left one orange one on the vine to see how big it will grow. The taste of this fruit is slightly sweet and very pleasant. I like it better than a lot of other well known verities, but I don’t think it will store well; too watery.

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Flowers are still blooming around the edges of the garden to encourage more pollination, but the vitality of these colorful blossoms is waning fast. The tomatoes will also have to come up soon, as damp cool fall weather will rot the whole plant, and fruit. If we pull up the plants soon and hang them upside down in a dry dark place, the fruit will continue to grow and ripen for a few more weeks. After we uproot the tomatoes, another fall planting of root veggies like parsnips can go in. We’ll also sheet mulch some areas of this garden with cardboard after applying a layer of fresh manure into the soil.

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Kale seed is the most abundant this year, and we’ll take time in selecting only the most productive plants to seed out again next year. Some seeds will have to be stored in dry places inside till sewing next year, while others are dropped into the soil now to overwinter under a layer of mulch till it warms up next Spring. In the picture above, you can see bright green small leaves of a lettuce seeded in earlier this summer growing into maturity now as the greens cycle through with new plantings every few weeks. The farm keeps a lot of lettuce seed handy for continual crops throughout the year.

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Because there was not a lot of weeding done in this garden for the 40 days I was gone, a few unwanted species, like bracken fern and morning glory, started to crowd in. But in only a few hours of hard work, the whole garden was soon rid of such pests, for now. The morning glory will overwinter underground where a particularly tenacious rhizome continues to survive. The bracken fern uses much the same strategy. Surface pulling continues to be the best method for long term inhalation. For a garden gone wild for over a month, productivity and diversity continue to thrive.

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