Friday, October 4, 2013

It's nearly bedtime!

As we roll through the beginning of fall, it becomes quite clear to me that it is nearly time to put the garden to bed. Here in the Northeast, the cool, early morning outside air beckons the call for warmer clothing. Blackbirds flock together to perform their annual ballets in flight, and colorful fall foliage starts to make its way into the landscape.

My garden this year was a successful one indeed. It is relatively small, compared to the efforts of my departed father. Gardens of the past were always big, and so were the annual harvests. My garden consists of four raised beds and the produce I harvested was impressive. My tomato plants were very productive, and they skirted the devastation from late blight. Many fellow gardeners were not so lucky. Red Candy grape tomato was outstanding, as its texture and sweetness were at the top of the charts.

I have never attempted to raise sweet corn, as it is always commonly available around town at most farm stands, but this year was different. In an area of around 5 feet by 8 feet, I planted my favorite variety to eat - "Mr. Mini Mirai". This yellow supersweet is so tender and sweet that it is clearly classified as gourmet quality. If any of my readers grow sweet corn and have not grown this one, then I highly recommend four or five rows in your garden next season.

I also had a couple plantings of Crockett green bush bean. Given the fact that I had four small rows throughout the season, I believe I harvested a bushel of tasty, dark green beans. I picked the plants several times, and the beans kept on coming. Crockett is a slender, dark green bean that eats exceptionally well.

If any gardener is a fan of radishes like I am, then the one to grow is Red Satin. In my opinion, this is the finest radish in the marketplace. Hybrid radishes have not been around for very long, and hybridization has greatly improved the species. Red Satin is consistently clean, smooth and round, with an appetizing bright red color. In 20 days, you will harvest beautiful red radishes with a delicious mild flavor. There's probably still time to plant a few more rows before cold weather sets in.

My Kuroda carrots made excellent size, and I have left a few to sweeten up for a later fall harvest. Add a few rows of spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce and my garden was quite complete.
In a few weeks, clean-up will begin. Plants will be pulled and composted. I will top my beds with an organic fertilizer and till it in. Then I will wait. I will wait for the snow. I will wait for spring to follow. But then, my garden will begin its next life cycle.