38. Fall Garden Clean-Up

I finally put a big dent in the fall garden clean-up. It is important to clean up and remove certain plants so you don’t attract bugs. Cucumber vines, tomato plants, and any other plants that are susceptible to pesty insects should be removed from the garden. I throw them in the woods or in our fire pit.

Marigolds

Marigolds

There are a lot of marigold plants in our garden but most are orange or red-orange. Next year I’d like to have some different varieties. I’d like solid yellow, solid red, harlequin striped (“court jester” is a variety I’ve grown before) in addition to the oranges. Today I pinched off all the spent blossoms (and there were A LOT!). Removing spent blossoms on any flowering plants encourages new flowers to grow.

Cucumber vines and spearmint

Cucumber vines and spearmint pile

I pulled up all the cucumber vines (“De Bourbonne” a small cornichon pickling type). These last few cucumbers are so misshapen because this variety is meant to be picked when they are very small. While I have no complaints about these cucumbers, I am not going to grow them again. They are pretty big plants for such small cucumbers. I cut back the growth on the spearmint because a lot of it was browned. I removed these vines from this row:

Still pretty chock-ful of plants!

Still pretty chock-full of plants! (this is the “After”)

In case you were wondering whatever happened to my moss ball (I do realize NO ONE was wondering this):

Moss ball

Moss ball

I made this moss ball out of chicken wire and zip ties and it has a semi-hollow center so the ball can be perched on a fence post. I had it perched on the deer-fence post by the gate, but it was too sunny. I’ve since moved the moss ball to a much shadier location. Today, baby walked by it and said, “That’s a big meatball!” hHHahaha I have to agree it needs a bit more moss applied so it will look less…meaty!

One of the flowers on the Thai Red Roselle is almost blooming (painfully exciting, I know!)

Thai Red Roselle bud

Thai Red Roselle bud

Thai Red Roselle bud

Thai Red Roselle bud

Thai Red Roselle bud...with orange polka-dot background!

Thai Red Roselle bud…with orange polka-dot background!

I love how the marigolds look like polka-dots in the background! The lemon cucumber vines are all withered, but I am letting the cucumbers sit on the vine a bit longer, making sure the seeds are completely mature. These did so well this year I am going to save a lot of the seeds (for myself and to give away).

Lemon Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

The obelisk is leaning over on the deer fence for support. It needs to be fixed up and dug into the ground. I am going to leave it where it is and use it to support a blackberry plant. I’ll do this when I’m ready to save the cucumber seeds (and remove the vines).

The bulk of the clean-up I did today was in the tomato patch. I removed all but a few (of the healthiest) tomato plants. I tilled up the soil where they were planted, including tilling up one of the paths we used to walk in between the plants:

To the left of the shovel is what I've done so far.

To the left of the shovel is what I’ve done so far.

By “tilling” I just mean digging into the dirt and flipping it over. The garden looks so much better without the spindly tomato plants blocking the view! I am not going to grow anything tall in that plot next year. I am going to plant a ton of garlic throughout the whole patch, along with (probably) squash or some other low-lying vining plant. Brassicas are also a good choice to “follow” tomatoes in a two-year crop rotation. But it is a pretty big patch, so I don’t know if I want to grow that much cabbage/cauliflower/broccoli. Onions are also an option…Garden planning is my favorite activity so I’ll be thinking about it!

Tomato patch looking in the other direction. (and they're pointing to an airplane!)

Top of the tomato patch looking in the other direction. (They’re pointing to an airplane!)

Some type of aster?

Some type of aster?

I’m not going to rant, but I think it is so important for lawns to be “free” to grow clover and dandelions and wildflowers and different types of grass. I cannot for the life of me understand the desire to have a homogenous green lawn with all the same blades of grass. The poor bees! I mean throwing down grass seed is one thing. But chemicals and sod and weed killer, for what? Are lone flowers in the lawn really so horrible?!

I spotted these Delice de la Table melons!

I spotted these Delice de la Table melons!

The melons are late bloomers! Hopefully it will stay warm enough for them to mature!

My aloe plant (the purple stuff is "wandering jew" and there's also a volunteer basil plant in there)

My aloe plant (the purple stuff is “wandering jew” and there’s also a volunteer basil plant in there)

I’ve had this aloe plant for ten years! The past few years it has sat in our basement for the winter. In the dark. Without water (maybe watered three times in five months). It’s looking pretty good now but it was looking VERY rough for awhile. So if you are looking for a plant to try to grow, aloe is a great one. Almost indestructible.

Some sights beyond the garden…

Puppy yawn (in the car the other night). It looks like she is yelling hahaha

Puppy yawn (in the car the other night). It looks like she is yelling hahaha

Swinging

Swinging

Sunset

Sunset

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