Kitchen Garden

Fall Garden Planning — 2021

Gleaning the fall garden.

Ambient temperatures are forecast to reach the high sixties today. It’s time to plan fall gardening and get to work.

The biggest task ahead is garlic planting. I cleared the plot where I had onions this year. The next work is to spade the soil, fertilize and till it. What’s left of the garlic harvest remains in the rack. It requires trimming, cleaning and sorting. I need about 100 of the best cloves for seeds and the rest will go into storage. It was a good crop and I hope next year will be better.

Because there were so many tomato plants the vines are still producing. They are not the best tomatoes yet fresh ones add value in the kitchen. Once frost comes, I will tear down the bed, stack and repair cages, and save the landscaping fabric and fencing for another year’s use.

I made the first pick of Brussels sprouts this week and they will produce into October. The plot where they are is the most diverse and will require gleaning it until frost kills everything. There will likely be tomatillos, peppers, cherry tomatoes and more sprouts. It will be the last plot to be torn down.

The main fall crop is apples. I went through the apple butter in the pantry and there is plenty to last two years and more. The same is true for apple sauce so the question is what to do with the abundance. I offered some of it to a neighbor who is coming next weekend to pick with their family. I plan to take the best fruit, make some baked goods and juice for apple cider vinegar and fresh cider. I also need to prune dead branches while leaves are still on the trees (so I can see what’s what). I don’t know what to do, if anything, about the scar on the Red Delicious tree where the derecho took a couple of big limbs. I’m resigned to eventually losing it. There is a lot of apple work ahead in the garden.

My greens plot was a success this year. We had plenty for the kitchen and the kale and collards will continue to produce into October. Some years kale makes it through November and last year it over wintered. There is landscaping fabric to recycle there along with fencing. Every plot needs work to prepare for winter.

As I organize and reflect on what happened, the overarching feeling is “where did the time go?” I’m thinking about my fall seed order already. Once the pension checks arrive this month I’ll reduce thoughts to an order and place it.

It’s been a great gardening year in a cycle that never ends.