Labor Day is my transition marker in the garden, moving from summer fare to fall planting. We’re all ready, I think my family would lob tomatoes my way if I serve up one more tomato recipe. I love pulling out the exhausted plants of summer and prepping for that fall produce — it’s my back to school tradition that signals the change in season.
First, we pulled everything out of the beds. Then we added my go-to mixture of sand, peat moss, organic potting soil and chicken manure to each of the beds. This mix gives needed nutrients to feed the plant and works to hold the moisture in the soil.
This soil overhaul increases those nutrients lost by summer veggies (tomatoes, I’m looking at you, suckers) and it helps maintain the stability of the soil for the fall veggies.
We’ve been lucky to still have some cloud covered mornings in the midst of these endless heat waves. Overcast skies make for good planting weather. It’s a good idea to get your brassicas planted early; they soak up that Indian Summer sun, making them nice and full come harvest time.
Lately, I’m starting more things from seed. It’s been a struggle to finding seedlings. Rumor has it that one of the big seedling nurseries has gone out of business.
To plant the seeds, we used a pencil tip to make the impression for the seed into the soil – the shaved point of a pencil is the perfect measurement of how deep to make the hole.
I’m trying out planting cabbage in combination with dill, they’re said to be good garden companions. Won’t it be pretty when the laciness of the dill feathers grow around the red heads of cabbage?
We devised a new way of protecting growing seeds from the birds with these homemade cages of chicken wire or hardware cloth. Once the seedlings are more established all you need to do is remove the garden staples and lift the cage.
We still have tons upon tons of tomatoes. I think it’s time to make a big batch of sauce and stash it in the freezer — they may be whining now, but I guarantee they’ll be all smiles when I pull it out in December.