September 5, 2009: The September Garden

I can't get used to September. I keep typing August, and have to go back to change it. The summer was vicious. It was so terribly hot and dry, yet it has gone by too quickly for me. I'm not ready for winter, even though I know it is just around the corner.

Let's go on a stroll through the September garden. She's not at her best, but she refuses to give up.

There's still sunshine in the faces of the marigolds

The determinate tomatoes are reduced by half, their companions taken early by blight. Four of twelve survived, and have been prolific with their fruits.

The zucchini, while not producing like its reputation would lead you to believe, has put forth just enough for fresh eating, with some left over to freeze for winter.

Juliet has overtaken one entire end of the garden, and threatens to overtake the lone zucchini plant. She has to be trimmed weekly to keep her in bounds. She gives me a basket of tomatoes nearly every day, but they are so small they are hardly worth canning. I usually just heat them and run them through a colander for fresh tomato juice, and use my larger tomatoes for sauces and salsas.

The blossoms on the new bed of bush beans remind me of spring.

It looks as though I'll get another good crop of beans before frost.
They fill the former potato bed.

Bright red and green jalapenos make me think of Christmas! Wouldn't they make a lovely wreath?

Spring onions in the fall? Why not? These came from tiny grocery store onions. I planted them so they could grow large enough to be worth eating. The parsley really needs to be cut and dried this week. Tiny carrots are just breaking through the ground at the back corner of the bed. They will never have a chance to mature before winter, but the rabbit will like the tender leafy tops.

Golden bells will be ready soon.

Peppers, peppers, everywhere! This has been an exceptional year for them, even though the jalapenos are as sweet as the red bells.

The parsnips have grown right over their corral and covered my new lettuce plants. I won't dig these until around October 15th. They should really stay in the ground until it freezes, but I'll be far away from the garden by October 18th. The parsnips will be going to Arizona!

I'll be pulling carrots soon. The tops are huge, but the roots are not quite developed enough. We've had pickled beets from this bed, as well as Harvard beets for last night's dinner. The green onions are ready to eat any time now. The bare bed to the left is where the diseased tomatoes were removed. I was going to plant lettuce and spinach there, but I think it's a bit late now, so I'll just give the ground a rest.

Although the pole bean vines are looking worse for the wear, they are still giving us all the beans we can eat. They are so much easier to pick than the bush beans, I think I'll stagger two plantings of them next year, but give them some twine to climb. They weren't happy with the chain link.

Oh, look! We have company on the back fence! He's been getting walnuts from neighbor Pat's walnut trees. She's trying to save a few for us, but the squirrels will get most of them.....and they'll plant them all over my yard!

I will get at least three more of these sugar-sweet melons before winter. I think two of them are Savor F1 and the other is Petit Gris. I'll be vigilant about checking these for ripeness, as I've accidentally let two others rot on the vine.

This is the melon barrel. It is so overgrown, it's really hard to spot the little melons under the foliage. Maybe I should tie red ribbons to their stems!

I have been ecstatic with my new Tristar strawberries. The twenty plants have given us non stop berries all summer, and it looks as though they'll just keep going until they freeze.

My poor, overgrown indeterminate tomato bed! It really did get ahead of me, but it's healthy and giving me lots of tomatoes.....even though I have to hunt for them inside all those vines.

Another view of the bed. Honest, I just about have to crawl inside to pick tomatoes. There are four Early Girls, one Kelloggs Breakfast, and a probable Brandywine that was labeled Cherokee Purple. I also planted a Black Cherry, but it must have been mislabeled, as there is nothing resembling a Black Cherry at all. Or maybe it's hiding deep inside the forest!

This is the former squash/pumpkin patch. I moved a bucket of cantaloupe here, just because it looked so bare after pulling the squash vines. I don't think the melon is too happy with the move, but I wasn't happy with the flavor of this variety so let it languish. I set a couple of butternuts and a small pumpkin on the ladder to see if they will ripen. It looks as though the squash will, but the pumpkin is beginning to turn soft, so it will probably be composted. Birds never nested in this birdhouse, but they sure did poop on the roof.

Next to the garden shed I've pruned these tomatoes better, and one has now reached the rooftop. The tall peppers are the ones I brought up from Arizona last March. My only hot jalapeno is in a pot here, as is the one and only surviving Purple Beauty pepper and some lily bulbs that the pups dug out of their bed. The other pots have recently been seeded with leaf lettuce. Everything is being guarded by my garden gnomes. Little dogs beware, garden gnomes will eat you alive ;-)

Now we're inside the garden shed. I'm loving this new shed! Even with the lawnmowers in there, I have so much room for my gardening equipment. I still don't have the mini-greenhouse moved in, I need to work on my boys to do that. I do have hooks for drying a few herbs, and storing the shallot bulbs for later planting. And drawers! And shelves! And a place for my very own tool box! But now we're going out that back door to look at the volunteer cherry tomato ;-)

This monster is growing next to the compost bin.

It got so large, I had to just lay drip tubing over the top of it for water. It is solid tomatoes! There have to be thousands and thousands of them, and they taste pretty good, too. Not quite as sweet as I like, but a lot better than the two Tumbling Toms I have growing in the garden and by the patio.

And where there aren't tomatoes, there are blossoms by the thousands. I'll bet it will still be bearing fruit when we leave next month.

Back at the house, it's beginning to look like Halloween! Pumpkins here.....

Pumpkins there. I have a lot of baking, scooping and freezing ahead of me. And Mr. H has a lot of pumpkin pies to look forward to. Not squash pies, LOL!

Yep, it's beginning to feel like September alright!


  1. So, I gotta ask, do you drag all these canned and frozen goods to Arizona with you?
    And I can't get over how great of a space your new shed is. You're lucky to have such a nice space. I have half of a garage space for my potting area, but it's a mess, and doesn't look a tenth as good as yours.

  2. Wow! I can not believe the cherry tomato volunteer! The number of tomatoes and flowers is just insane. They must love it next to the compost.

    What a wonderful little trip around your garden. Even though you're slowing down there is still so much growing!

    Btw, I left you a meme award on my blog! Hope thats ok =)

  3. Your little tomatoes are outta control in the good way! Thanks for the photo of the squirrel, it is so cute!

  4. wow! You still have A LOT of stuff growing! I think today, we might clean out the garden a bit! It will looks skimpy for sure compared to yours!

  5. Ahhh pumpkins, yellow peppers, melon, strawberries. All the Things I can't grow here and want to grow. Well I can grow strawberries, but the chipmunks eat them all before they are ripe, so I just haven't bothered in years. Parts of it might look a bit ragged, but still so many things are still growing strong.

  6. Sue, in a I'll just have to keep the freezer plugged in this year, and most of the canned goods will wait for spring. I'll probably take a dozen jars or so with me.

    Dot, I was surprised it grew large enough to bear tomatoes before it freezes here. I've never been able to get a volunteer to do that before. It's very sheltered where it is, and probably got some warmth from the compost.

    Thank you for the meme award. I had already done my seven earlier, but I'll be blogging about it tomorrow. It was so sweet of you to think of me (and Annie).

    Hidinginmygarden, I love the little squirrels. The walnuts, not so much. The squirrels plant them in all my flower beds, and it's hard pulling out all those trees!

    Shawn Ann, mine is getting skimpier each week. I'm on countdown to get it cleaned up by October 16th, as we'll be leaving on the 18th.

    Daphne, I wish I weren't leaving it soon, so I could extend the season. I'll be ripping stuff out while it's still productive.

    It's hard to imagine all those pumpkins came from two of your little seeds!

  7. What a great garden tour! The overall health and vitality of the plants really speaks to your gardening skills. Things are abundant and happy in your little piece of the earth.

    Well done!

  8. Thank you, KitsapFG. I take that as a real compliment, after seeing your gardening skills!

  9. Wow-we! That volunteer could feed a neighborhood! I love cherry tomatoes. Wayne pulled up most of ours today. They were losing leaves and looking poorly.

  10. Oh my! Granny I know I say this all of the time, but I just really love coming over here and looking at your pictures. It always gives me the motivation to get out in the yard and do the best I can to keep my garden growing well.

  11. Thank you, Crystabel. That was very sweet of you. I hope I can continue to motivate!

  12. It's such a great testament to soil. Maybe I'll move building the compost bin system forward in the "must do" list.


    Nice squash!

  13. Stefaneener, this area behind the shed was a dumping ground for grass clippings for a few years, then it was covered with straw this spring. Along with the compost bin next door to it, the tomato didn't have a chance of non-survival in that fertile soil! I think it will be my melon patch next year.

  14. I am very envious of those 3 melons. What do you use for mix in the barrels? I tried growing stuff in mine this year and it was not a success. (I used a mix of organic potting soil and compost)

  15. Kelly, I was a bit short on fill for the barrels, so I put a bunch of fall leaves in the bottom (about half full) and then topped it with aged dairy compost, purchased from a local nursery. Most of my boxes are filled with that dairy compost, which is the least expensive one they sell. It was $20 a yard last year, this year it's $30.

  16. Kelly, I might add...try potting MIX rather than potting SOIL. I think it works much better.

  17. I'll have to try this variety of strawberry next year. It always makes me so sad when they stop producing midsummer. Did you order these plants from an online source?

  18. Thomas, I bought these at a local nursery. They weren't what I was wanting, but it was all this particular store had. Now I'm happy I have them. The berries aren't very large, but the flavor is wonderful, and they are red clear through. I picked my first berries on May 29, and have picked 3-4 times a week since then. Not a lot of berries at a time, but enough for us to eat fresh, and I've made two batches of strawberry jam so far. I've actually picked over 20 pounds of berries so far from the 20 plants.

  19. I welcome winter but only so I can blow 12" of snow 50' in the air with the snowblower, such fun! Your melons have really done well, they look so healthy. Mine have blight or at least I think it is blight. Big browns spots everywhere but they are producing a second flush of leaves. I do have two good size melons so it shouldn't be a total loss this year... I can't wait for next year after this season! After reading johnny's instructions I did find that there is a small leaf were the fruit joins the vine, I will have to keep watch so I don't loss my lonely fruit duo

  20. Dan, snow blowers must be a "man thing", LOL! Mr. H loves the leaf blower, too. I must say, the leaf blower does a good job of blowing the dust and dirt out of the garage and garden shed.

    I'm watching that leaf on a couple of mine, but look at the photo of the melon here. It doesn't have a small leaf, just two big ones coming out at an equal distance from the fruit! I'm still trusting my nose. I smell the blossom end every day.

  21. Everything looks so wonderful, I never get tired of pics of your orderly raised beds! I am spending the weekend ripping out all summer stuff and getting my act together for fall planting!

  22. Erin, I find ripping out to be nearly as much fun as planting! I guess because it returns some order to an overgrown, tired garden.

  23. WOW! How *DO* you manage to do cool weather crops (carrot, onion, strawberry) in the heat of summer???

  24. Momma_S, I cover the carrot seeds with a board until they germinate, then they manage the heat just fine. The onions are from green onions I buy in the produce dept. of the grocery store...I just plant them and let them grow, so I can use as needed. The strawberries are a day neutral variety, they just keep in tickin' !

  25. I love how you documented your whole Garden Tool Shed building process. This totally gives me inspiration of building ours! Thanks for sending me the links Granny!