State of the Garden, September 2016

My September garden
A view over the fence into my September garden

This is a monthly update on my garden, as of September, 2016. For a garden layout to follow along, see my previous post.

As I walk through the garden, in my first herb bed the Salvia is blooming, but also seems to be drying out.  It grows upright when young, but then lays down on the ground, taking up about a 24″ square space, and about 24″ tall. The Mint is beginning to turn woody. It has an ant bed under it–I guess it is a falsehood that mint repels ants. The Oregano is spreading out; it now covers another 24″ square space.  I just planted Lemon Balm in this bed, and it is doing well.

The Basil in the second herb bed has been trying to bloom and go to seed. To stop that from happening, my wife pinches off the flowers. It, like the Salvia, has been spreading out; it could easily take up all of the 48″ square. I replanted Parsley this month; the first planting was shaded out by the Basil, so I planted the second plant to the south of the Basil. Our Thyme doesn’t grow well here-just dries up. I will have to figure out why.

The third bed has recently planted Rosemary and Sage, both doing well. I planted Tarragon in the spring; it, too began to spread out, and now covers about a 36″ square space. Next year, I will try to fence in these spreading plants to contain them and make them grow upright.

The fourth and final herb bed has our transplanted Tomato plant, now beginning to grow after just hanging in there during the summer.  I also have Ginger and Chives here.

Bed number five has the other transplanted Tomato. It is about 7 feet tall now, and beginning to flower and produce again after the summer.  Just this week I saw the first hornworms of the season–really late. I usually start seeing hornworms in August. I use a UV light to inspect the plants after dark. The hornworms glow bright green against the dark green of the tomato leaves, making them easy to find and pick off.

I have Japanese Eggplant, Chili Peppers and Bell Peppers in the same bed.  They are all growing and producing well.

Bed six is mostly empty now. It had the spring crops of carrots, lettuce, kale, and bok choi, which are all gone now.  I have begun to plant more bok choi and lettuce here for a fall harvest.

I also planted a second crop of corn for the fall in that bed. They are about 3 feet tall now, and beginning to put out   tassels. I also companion planted beans, and will plant winter squash this weekend.

I thought to myself, “What else can I see in UV?” and began walking around the garden. I discovered in bed 7 that the undersides of cucumber, broccoli and cauliflower are purple, and cabbage worms are green, making them easy to pick off. I also had watermelon in that bed. For some reason the cabbage worms did not eat the watermelon, which is still in full leaf.  There is still one round melon growing; we harvested 2 others earlier. The zucchini in that bed died from cabbage worm attacks earlier.

In plot eight, I have my okra. Last year we planted way too much okra; this year I just planted three bushes, and it is still too much.  It grows so fast, I have to harvest twice a day or they will get too big, and too tough to cook.  When that happens, I can cut them up and get the seeds out for use in salads.

Plots 9-11 were planted in corn earlier.  They are now fallow, planted in red clover to fix nitrogen for next year.

I planted Malabar spinach and pole beans and peas along the north side fence.  Malabar spinach is a climber, and loves hot weather.  It took over the peas, and I just found the peas making a comeback, so I cut the spinach back. The spinach is also a prolific self-seeder.

That’s what my garden looks like now.  September and October are the months to get a fall planting in before the first frost in December.  Coming up, I will have an October gardening to-do list to remind you what must be done before the first frost.

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