Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn!

Could it be the first day of fall already? The pleasant weather here in Chicagoland definitely shows it.

The summer was so busy, I can hardly believe it's over. At the same time, the temperatures have been so mild, summer barely seemed to have arrived. My pathetic garden is proof of that. The way things are going (i.e., slow), I'm not sure my mums are even going to bloom before it gets too cold.

Yes, I got several handfuls of cherry tomatoes and those two sorry excuses for cucumbers you saw in my previous post. And, I did enjoy some spinach and lettuce early in the season. Oh OK, the raspberries and strawberries did great in their small spaces, but their prime time ended months ago, meaning I had almost the whole summer to watch nothing spectacular happen in my yard. Disappointing after the initial excitement of spring seedlings and the decent June/July harvest of greens and berries. I am ashamed and disappointed to say that most of what I planted either didn't grow well or didn't grow at all. And besides the tomatoes (which still could have been more bountiful), the stuff that did grow didn't produce much, if at all. My trial and error (mostly error) with herbs in small containers didn't really work out until just recently—I have a much more vigorous bunch of herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, green onions) growing right now. I have yet to see the beginnings of an actual pumpkin on our little pumpkin vines. Considering what day it is, I guess I won't see any pumpkins this year. Oh well...

My last tasks for the growing season:
  • Enjoy what's left of the nice weather while picking the tapering supply of tomatoes and herbs.
  • Stir the compost!
  • Pull up my remaining shallots and plant the clusters of shallot "heads" for next year.
  • Think about the plan for next year's edible garden.
  • Possibly build a second compost bin (well, ask Len to build one for me) so we can alternate bins each season, maximizing output and minimizing stirring and sifting.
  • Separate what "finished" compost I can and spread it on the permanent garden beds to help get the soil ready for next spring.
  • When it starts getting colder for real but before it really frosts, trim back the raspberry bushes and grape vines. (Oh yeah, I got a few small bunches of small grapes, did I tell you that? They looked more like currants. I was pleased, this being their first full season.)

So Happy Autumn, everybody. I hope your garden produced better than mine, and as you're doing your end-of-season tidying up, don't forget to compost your yard waste.

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