Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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First Fall Planting, Still More Tomatoes & A Few Surprise Volunteers

You would never know fall arrived in Laguna Beach this morning! We’re still having a bit of a heat wave, but nothing like last weekend when it was 102 degrees in my non-air conditioned (and non-insulated) house. And even though my good friend, and fellow gardener, Cathy, said I should wait until the soil cools for my fall planting, I was too impatient and just had to get a few seeds into the ground.

Here’s what I started with.

Of course, I had to make nice labels for them! I figure it will make them happy and they’ll grow better–just kidding. It’s so I know what they are. Swiss chard leaves look a lot like beet leaves. Really.

First I amended my soil. Cathy also told me she read on a Master Gardener website that it helps to put Epsom Salts in the soil.
This is the front deck, not as protected against critters who seem to be able to scale a 6 foot fence–I’d still like to see them in action. I pulled out the tomato plants here and prepared the soil. I left the peppers in–I have more jalapenos than I know what to do with! Stop by if you need some.

I also amended the soil in the “screen” house. 

The Swiss chard was the last plant standing at that end.
Back to the front deck…I planted cilantro (can never have enough of it) and basil. I might be a bit late for the basil, but I’ll give it a try.
I also put the parsley on the front deck. It’s closer to my kitchen and easier to get when I’m cooking.
I wasn’t sure how big these “skewer” rosemary plants were going to get so I put them in the “screen” house. I try to buy two of every plant–I learned from my other gardener friend, Laura, with some plants you need to have two to mate.
Here’s one of my volunteers! Blue Lake Pole Beans growing up the tomato cage. I had a green bean plant in that spot in the spring and I guess a few seeds fell in the ground and now it’s doing its Jack & The Beanstalk thing. I hope it’s not too late in the season to produce more beans.
And just when I thought my tomatoes were done for the season (most of the plants are) my two San Marzano Roma tomatoes are back with a vengeance.
I planted these beet seeds about a month ago. Right now they’re all tops and not much beet. I think this is what Cathy meant about the soil being too warm. Remember how they look…you’ll see what I mean when we get to a bigger picture of the Swiss chard.

I love to sit on my glider in the “screen” house after a big day of gardening and enjoy a beverage. (Oops! Still in the picture). 

See what I mean about the San Marzanos? They’ve crawled to another tomato cage and just keep producing. One of these days I should learn to can…but it just seems so complicated.
Here’s the other San Marzano. It’s funny, this plant languished all spring and summer and produced nothing. Now it’s going full tilt!
Can’t wait to make some leek and potato soup…when it really feels like fall weather. It’s way too hot to cook soup today.
And here’s the Swiss chard. I just know Franco will have us make something good with that at Tuscookany next week and I’ll definitely share it with you when I get back. But notice how it looks a lot like the beets.
And as I leave the garden…I’ll leave you with this photo of the passion fruit vine crawling up and over the screen house.
I encourage all of you to start planting–even if you just start with a few herbs in your kitchen window. You’ll be so pleased at how much extra flavor you can get from just adding a little to what you’re cooking!
And as always, Enjoy!

Categories: Fall, Gardening Tips

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