Fall Garden 3.0

My third serious attempt at a fall garden is in. This time, I started all the veggies from seed. Tootsie “helped.”

Back in June, I started some Foxgloves and Canterbury bells inside. These beauties are biannual, blooming in the second year and then dying. I’m testing my hypothesis that going through winter triggers bloom — not the age of the plant. Will fall-planted specimens do as well as those planted in spring? I predict shorter stalks with fewer blooms.

Canterbury Bells looking good going into winter

Two flats of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, cabbage, and spinach went under lights in early August. Once they came up, I moved the flats to a shady spot outside. Keeping Tootsie away was a challenge. She didn’t bother the plants, but couldn’t resist the plastic labels. Other than the spinach, the seedlings are virtually identical. I have no idea what’s what.

In September, I planted everything in an informal row extending from one end of the border to the other. Planting with Tootsie around is simply impossible. I’ve tried distracting her with toys, but nothing interests her more than me on my knees digging in the dirt. Putting her inside is the only option and then she cries until we’re reunited. Once planted, she (mostly) ignores stuff in the garden.

Daddy’s little helper…

Hot, dry conditions have delayed plans to grow several varieties of lettuce. Two flats are under lights now. It’s late, but you never know. If the winter is mild enough, they’ll take off next spring.

The difference between store-bought and home-grown seedlings is amazing. Initially, my seedlings were much smaller than any available in garden centers. Soon after planting, however, the puny seedlings took off.

The plants are bigger now than those grown in previous years were at harvest time (late January or February). They’re still growing too and will likely keep growing well into December. I have no idea what to expect. Will they be ready for harvest early? Collards will for sure. For the rest, time will tell.

As always, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by!