The Fall Crop

I limited the size of my Fall crop this year. Truth be told, time got away from me. I meant to plant a huge radish bed, but, in some kind of cosmic practical joke, I could not find the radish seeds. I purposefully pulled the radish packets out of the box where I keep all my seeds, and placed them where I [thought I] would see them. Turns out, it was also a place where I sometimes toss mail that needs attention, but later.

So, the packets lay hidden under bank statements and money pleas from non-profits. I was pretty exasperated until I came across a producer at the Anderson Township Farmers’ Market selling arugula seed – I snapped those up and planted a bed of arugula instead. (I eventually found the radish seeds – I’ll save them for the Spring, for sure.)

With a lot of reluctance, I also planted some Cheddar Cauliflower. I *love* cauliflower, and I love the slightly nutty flavor of the cheddar variety. My summer crop (of Snow White) was an utter failure. This, I cannot blame on the church garden behind me (she says, dodging another lightning strike) – it was totally my fault.

My gardens are organic, and I simply underestimated the effort it would take maintain organic cauliflower. The majority of the problem was cabbage worms. Those sly little suckers can camoflauge themselves on cauliflower leaves like no one’s business. Overnight, an entire leaf would be stripped to its veins. Leaves are really important on cauliflower, so, there’s trouble right there. The one (out of 7) viable head that matured was bitter beyond belief. Blech! So, the fall crop went in with floating row covers to keep those pretty white moths with the black dot on the wings from laying eggs. I’m not holding out much hope for a good crop, because the plants seem awfully small for mid-October, but, we’ll see how it goes.

Cheddar cauliflower, tucked in under its floating row cover.

Cheddar cauliflower, tucked in under its floating row cover.

Baby arugula well on its way to yummy goodness.

Baby arugula well on its way to yummy goodness.

More pictures of my transplanted carrots below. One and all, they’re doing wonderfully, and I plan to start carrots early in Jiffy containers again next Spring. I love the carrot tops’ growing habits – so beautiful. Next year, I want to take a more “landscaped” approach to my vegetable garden (I took baby steps towards that goal this year), and carrots will play a big role.

The carrot transplants are doing spectacularly.

The carrot transplants are doing spectacularly.

I love the ferny beauty of carrot tops.

I love the ferny beauty of carrot tops.

One of the reasons that time got away from me this year is that my summer garden is still going strong, requiring the same amount of care now (and in September) as it did in July and August (last year this time, the garden was completely torn down, the soil turned, supplemented and resting, and the late summer vegetables were set to cure). Just tonight, I picked tomatoes, a bell pepper, basil and arugula for a tomato salad for lunch tomorrow. I also finished harvesting the last of the summer carrots tonight. Long Tokyo bunching onions will be pulled probably this weekend.

It all felt kind of surreal and time-warpy because it’s, like, 80 degrees out there – in mid-October – with a gorgeous, dusky harvest moon rising in the East as I’m brushing the dirt off of the perfect Purple Dragon carrots I picked in the evening twilight.

Juicy summer tomatoes and fresh vegetables in October. Life is good, my friends. Life is good.


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