The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are starting to change, and the growing season is slowing; it is officially Fall. It’s hard to believe that another month has passed; time does fly. September has been another busy month, both at home and in the garden.
The beginning of the month had us sending our dear son off to his first day of high school—a huge adjustment for us all, especially after nearly two years of remote or hybrid learning. Mixed emotions, including apprehension, relief, and excitement, filled our home. As our schedules got busier, filled with returning activities, I noticed that life in the garden had started slowing down (slightly). I’ve been able to take more time meandering and observing in the garden, a welcomed reprieve from our hectic schedule.
Berry production is sadly starting to show signs of decline. I harvested bowl after bowl of raspberries throughout the month, tucking them into the freezer (or my mouth) for future enjoyment. They are beautiful this year, plump, juicy, and oh so productive. I have harvested double the amount I was able to last season. The blackberries have also started fruiting. In 2020, I planted the variety ‘Stark Black Gem’, and they are producing fruit for the first time. The berries are large and sweet, and while I have only harvested a handful or so, we are excited about all of the future harvests to come.
I harvested the last of our bush beans in the vegetable patch and started picking the dry bean varieties for storage. Peppers are still going strong, and we are enjoying the delicious fleeting taste of the last homegrown tomatoes. Pumpkins were picked and are now on display, adding to the festive fall mood. Along with the cooling weather comes succession sown crops. I planted cold-hardy lettuce, spinach, and dwarf peas for late-season enjoyment.
In the flower patch, blooms are slowly transitioning to fall favorites. The zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers are still flowering, but it’s the dahlias that are stealing the show. This season is my first time growing dahlias, and it will not be the last. They have captured my heart. The fall-blooming asters are also a garden show-stopper and have been abuzz with pollinators. I’ve also noticed that the nurseries have replaced their summer blooming perennials and annuals with chrysanthemums and fall ornamentals. Another clear sign that the seasons are changing.
As flowers start to fade, I have been going about collecting seeds for next season. Cosmos, zinnias, dahlias, sesame, and sunflowers all offer a promise of colorful blooms next summer with each seed I collect. As a budding seed saver, this is an exciting adventure. I can’t wait to see if the seeds germinate and what blooms will grace the garden.
When I am among the flowers, I notice the many butterflies dancing in the breeze. They, too, know that the season is fading. Likewise, migrating monarchs make a layover in our garden to refuel before resuming their long flight—winged beauties among the petals. I am thrilled that my fall flowers can provide sustenance for these magnificent creatures during their journey.
Finally, I must share the most exciting garden event of September. After 14 years of dreaming, I watched the building of my new potting shed. I never thought this dream would come to fruition, but here I am, pinching myself to be assured that it has. More on this project in a future post, but here is a sneak peek of my new favorite place.
So, as the season changes and I switch gears in the garden, I look forward to October. I am enjoying the last bites of homegrown produce while starting to dream of the possibilities in the seasons to come. I now focus on the garden tasks that lie ahead this fall: final harvesting, dahlia dividing, seed collecting, preserving, and putting the beds to rest for their long winter nap. It’s hard to believe, but before we know it, this time will come. That’s what’s been growing on in my garden; what’s growing on in yours?