In the past, Labor Day was my marker to have my fall weather veggies planted, post a few good family meal recipes and share an after school snack or two on the blog. I traded productivity for embracing the summer chaos of travel, bike rides, beach days, and pool days, leaving me with fun memories, unorganized closets and blonder hair — we can just pretend that’s from the chlorine. With both kids finally back in school it was time to give some TLC to my other baby, the garden.
After a summer of hard work and juicy tomatoes, the garden needed a full-scale overhaul. The first step was getting my soil back in shape. It was severely depleted, so we yanked everything out. It was hard to part with those tomatoes, not so hard to pull out the eggplant that never produced a goddamn fruit. I didn’t want to disturb the soil too much, but it was really sucked dry of nutrients – particularly nitrogen.
We combed the beds for old, dead root systems and added a nice 6” thick layer of Malibu Compost Biodynamic Bu’s Blend. It’s the first time I’ve used this brand, but wanted to give it a go since it boasts being all natural (predominately cow manure), no GMO, no synthetic chemicals and it’s a big booster in soil microbes.
While my hair color may not be all natural, I do try my best to grow organic seeds and seedlings with no genetic modification. If I’m going to invest all this time into the garden, we might as well grow the best, most nutrient filled plants available. I also seek out the most interesting and tasty varieties, planting the things I can’t easily find at the market.
Next was putting together a list of loose guidelines for what I wanted in my fall garden based on flavor, what will grow in our current climate and most importantly, what we will really eat. Making my lists, I considered companion planting guides from this book to determine which plants should grow together. Basically, there are combinations of plantings that are mutually beneficial. Some combos can deter pests or being next-door neighbors improves their flavor. While there may be disputes on this topic I’m all for plant friendship, making things grow and enhanced flavor; I believe, I believe!
A few nursery stops was all it took to tackle my grand plan– carrots, radishes, leeks, beets…. Having that list kept me organized, on tract and deterred me from buying things I absolutely do not need. This in itself is a small miracle, have you seen my shoe closet? Maybe a little chaos was what we needed to allow the fall focus to begin? I believe, I believe.
For those of you making lists for your fall garden, here’s a few highlights from my recent plantings: buttercrunch lettuce, chioggia beets, yaya carrots, blue solise leek, shogin turnip, mache, watermelon radish, romanesco, dragon arugula…what are you looking forward to harvesting from your fall garden?