Time flies when you’re having fun in the garden! I can hardly believe that I am writing another edition of ‘What’s Growing on in the Garden’! Well, let’s dig in!
I’ve noticed that my garden chores have switched gears as we reach the end of October; after all, the growing season is fleeting. At this point, most garden tasks have become more about preparation for the winter season and a look toward next year. Deadheading, cleaning up beds, putting away hoses and garden decorations, and planting bulbs for spring enjoyment top the “to-do” list this month.
The weather has remained unseasonably warm here, and we have yet to have a frost in my neck of the woods (a rarity for the end of October). However, this has led to a longer growing season, so I can’t complain. We have been enjoying succession sown lettuce and peas in abundance throughout October. Apparently, I didn’t learn anything from my over-sowing of lettuce in the spring and planted more than necessary again. But hey, fresh salads at the end of October? Yes, please! Besides, my neighbors are once again reaping the benefits of my mistake.
Besides lettuce and peas, I harvested the last carrots, dry beans, peppers, and tomatoes. Cooler nighttime temperatures have slowed their growth, but they are still producing. I have harvested handfuls of green tomatoes that will not have time to ripen. But, there is no need to despair, as they have been cut, battered, and frozen for winter enjoyment- a welcomed taste of summer in the dead of winter. The cooler weather has also helped to cut down on pest pressure, which allows me to focus on other aspects of the garden. Although, I did find a few rogue Armyworms in the pea patch.
This month has also been a time for saving more seeds. Dahlias, cosmos, and sunflowers all offer their seeds for collection and the promise of more beautiful blooms in the following year. Without a frost, the dahlias and cosmos are still blooming profusely, much to the delight of the pollinators. I haven’t had the heart to cut them down yet, as all of us are enjoying them still. Digging and dividing the dahlia tubers will have to wait until next month. In the meantime, I have tagged and documented several dahlias that were grown from seed. I’m going to try my hand at saving those tubers and growing them out again next year. Who knows? Perhaps I have the next Cafe au Lait growing right in my backyard! More on this fun dahlia breeding project in a future post.
Tulip and daffodil bulbs have been tucked into the ground for their long winter’s nap while I anxiously await their spring debut. I purchased many new peony and parrot tulip varieties that I have never grown before in an array of soft pastel colors. I can hardly wait to see how they look growing in the garden come springtime. Likewise, my garlic needs to be planted at the end of the month, similarly tucked in to await the warmer temperatures of spring. They will herald in the new growing season in a few months.
Fall chores can seem overwhelming, as there are so many. Some tasks still on the docket include: mulching leaves for the garden beds, cleaning up and weeding the garden, putting away all of the supports, and dahlia digging and division. Amongst all of the regular garden chores, we have also been working diligently on the new potting shed-frantically trying to get the interior finished in time to move in all of my gardening gear before the first snowflakes fall.
I look forward to the rest, relaxation, and planning that the winter season will bring during this hectic time. It is a time in which I will catch up on reading all of those garden books and magazines I ordered over the summer but didn’t have time to open, and a time to continue learning by taking online gardening classes. I look forward to a time when I can focus on planning next season’s garden-ordering seeds, creating a planting plan, and dreaming of the new possibilities. I’ve already decided to focus more on cut flowers next year as I’ve discovered how much I love to create arrangements and bouquets for friends and family. Plus, who doesn’t want more flowers in their life? I certainly do.
As we step into November, there is still much to do in the garden, but I start to look towards the future. I am thankful for the past growing season; it has brought my family nourishment, enjoyment, and fulfillment. But, I will soon put it to bed and focus on what next season can bring. That’s what’s been growing on in my garden, what’s been growing on in yours?