When most people think of fall they think of college football, the start of the basketball season (well, maybe not this year) and the World Series…but not me. I long for the day when the veggies arrive at Roger’s Gardens and I can begin my fall garden.
It seemed I had to wait longer this year, but last Saturday I took the surfboard, skateboards, drumsticks, guitar picks and various other reminders of Jake out of the Honda Element and headed to my “happiest place on earth” Roger’s Gardens. www.rogersgardens.com
I loaded up the cart…and I do mean loaded. When I got home I lost count at 150 plants. Perhaps a personal best for a weekend. And that doesn’t include the seed packets!
I must confess. This year my zucchini crop was…well, crop failure. Not one lousy zucchini. I decided to consult an expert and I came away with a ton of info which I’ll pass along to you.
Meet David Rizzo, gardening expert and my favorite person at Roger’s Gardens. (And no, they don’t pay me to plug them….they just really are the best.) He helped me understand why I had no zucchini–apparently they need to mate. I would have girl flowers but no boy flowers at the same time, hence no zucchini. Right now I seem to have a little zucchini growing…could it be the first of the season for me? I hope so.
I also learned the difference between composts. I bought the Harvest Supreme. The name makes me think of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme so that will be a good way for me to remember it. This compost has more chicken manure and redwood compost. It’s better for sandy, lighter soil, which is what I have here at the beach.
If you have heavy soil or clay the Soil Building compost is better. It has chicken manure and redwood compost but also earthworm castings and some sand. So check your soil and see what you should add to boost your output.
The other problem David helped me with was drainage. It seemed my soil was always very wet and muddy. Perlite to the rescue. If you need help, like I always do, just go to Roger’s Gardens and ask David!
After my horticulture lesson I loaded the Honda Element with 6 bags of compost, 2 bags of perlite, 150 plants and headed home to begin the fun part…digging in the dirt.
Here’s what the beds looked like after I added the compost and perlite.
|Arugula, onions and Romaine|
And here’s an overall view of it today after it had a week to take root.
I found the best place to grow my passion fruit vines is on the front deck garden. I also plant a lot of my herbs here since it’s closer to the kitchen and I can just run out the door and snip what I need while I’m cooking…and oh yes, Trick or Treat!
This is a San Marzano tomato that I planted in March. It just about died off and then a new shoot sprouted from the base of the plant and now it’s taking over the front deck garden. I’m very excited because San Marzano canned tomatoes cost $5 or more!
When I’m planting seeds I try to sow a few every other week so I don’t have a huge harvest, of say carrots, all at once. Last week I sowed carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips and arugula. Just remember to thin them out or you will get very skinny beets. Trust me on this.
I started leek seeds in this container. I haven’t tried this before, so I’ll let you know.
If you’re considering a garden…go for it. Don’t be afraid. Even if you don’t have a lot space many veggies can be grown in pots on your deck. Once you’ve planted them, they really require very little. Make sure they’re watered regularly…put in a drip hose if you tend to forget and set it on a timer like you would Christmas lights. Of course, I talk to mine (yes…really) every day, but you might be able to skip that part.
In a few months when you’re harvesting your delicious cabbages or carrots that are so sweet and peas that you can eat right off the little vine without even cooking them, you’ll be so happy…and so will your family.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, look at these blueberries and it’s October! Just remember…they need to mate too, so buy at least two plants.