Preparing for Autumn....The Fall Garden

Yes, we are preparing for Autumn. Even though to us these temperatures make us hardly wince.  To Sourdoughs from Alaska, 60 degree temperatures mean either late spring, early summer or early Autumn.  Still we try to follow the calendar for this area as it seems so do our plants.  I guess they know better than us that it's time to quit, no matter how hot it still feels to us.

Our tomatoes have almost completely thrown in the towel.  They know they're done.  They're just begging to be taken away.  Still though, we've left them to allow those few green tomatoes to ripen naturally.  Later those will turn into our Ketchup for this year along with others we've picked and frozen.  Within the next two weeks Fava Beans and Rye will be planted in our tomato bed and our eggplant and bell pepper bed.  This will help with the nitrogen levels and of course add more organic material back into the soil.
On the other hand our winter garden is just getting going again.  
 We've got Swiss chard going again which is BARELY visible in this photo.  For some reason, I have found starting swiss chard from seed is super difficult.  The seeds germinate and sprouts start to form but the plants seem to not want to grow higher than an inch.  The brussell sprouts are (jumping up and down here excitedly) just starting to produce their first sprouts, the salsify is sprouting and growing slowing, the cabbage from earlier this summer is almost ready to be picked and best of all, our salad greens bed is doing well. Very little signs of slugs or snails thanks to the sluggo we purchased and the crushed up egg shells we've been saving. 
As you can see we have fresh straw on the right side of the picture.  That'll be used in all the other beds as well as these two.  Nice thing about almost any sort of compostable material breaking down.  It all generates heat.  We'll need that come winter to help keep our kale, brussel sprouts, salad greens and onions going.

Unfortunately our Marina di Chioggia is NOT going to produce anything this year.  Oh well, we'll try it again next year!

We decided to plant our garlic in the Okra beds. First and foremost, we were seriously tired of the okra.  Well no, I was mostly tired of it.  Okra is not an absolute favorite veggie of mine so by August I was getting pretty tired of blanching it and drying it. We got almost a quart of dried okra now, ready for cooking in the winter months.  
We purchased two varieties of Garlic this year from Filaree Garlic Farm in Washington State.  This year we're trying Chesnok Red and Persian Star, both of which are purple stripe and hardnecks.  These are best for northern growers as they're hardier.  Plus hardneck garlic varieties provide the much loved garlic scapes in late spring.  Softneck garlic varieties do not.  Our Chesnok Red is originally from Shvelisi, Republic of Georgia and the Persian Star garlic is originally from Samarkand, Uzbekistan.   We pretty much followed the directions of several, and I mean SEVERAL websites when planting. Make sure soil is fully tiled up and loose, well composted, lots of nutrients, yada yada yada.  
Then just simply plant the garlic flat side down, pointy side up.  Always in mid September to Early October. Cover with straw and leave them be.  Well that's what we did.  Now here's to hoping we see Garlic scapes in early June!

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