Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October's Garden (2018)

This month's garden looks so small! I remember when my garden extended all the way back into the corner and touched both fences. We even planted the area where the old shed is located. It was never a "new" shed because when it was given to us, it was already "old". Bill keeps telling me, "The garden only needs to feed two people, not a family of five with three teenage boys." Still, I feel panicked. The long winter is ahead and I don't think it will be enough. This is the same feeling I get right before company arrives: I never think I have enough food on the table. Perhaps this insecurity has been caused by feeding three boys for so many years; no matter how much I cooked, they were always hungry.

Regardless, it is too late now to plant more.  Winter is coming and the garden is changing.

The sweet potatoes on the right hate cold weather.  We have begun digging them but without any of our sons here to do the heavy lifting, we are taking it slow.  Both bean arches are down now and the bush bean plants are gone.  The fez of armadillos (a group of armadillos is called a "fez", isn't that interesting?  Well, it's the only thing interesting about an armadillo).  Anyway, back to what I was saying: they did a great deal of damage in this area.  We were invaded by a total of four - my mighty hunters were able to vanquish three and then the last one disappeared.  We hope it got hit by a car and won't return.

These are my heirloom tomatoes which grew with the yardlong beans on the tall arch.  This is how they looked on October 14th, two weeks ago.  As expected, they rallied after producing a bunch of tomatoes and looked strong when the first frost arrived.

On the exact same day, this is a picture of my store-bought hybrid, Big Beef tomatoes. They were pathetic.  After producing a huge crop of tomatoes, they all decided to drop dead. I don't know why. They will never be forgiven for this behavior and I will not buy them again. Stupid tomatoes.

This is the ex-tomato row today.  Since the leaves and vines are gone, it's obvious my tools are never put back in the shed.  Instead, I hang them on the fence as I leave the garden.  I suppose it could be considered lazy but I choose to call it being organized.  It works for me.

The carrots which were planted between the tomatoes in the area beside the armadillo battleground were never harvested. I think it is now safe to dig them. In the few empty spots, I have dropped some Oregon Sugar Pod Peas. In the other section of the fence where most of the carrots have been dug, Fava beans have been planted. They love cold weather and the peas love cool weather. Since the fence is still up, I decided to take advantage of the support.

This was the strawberry patch, which was overtaken by the Monster Melon vine and is almost bare. It will be a winter hoop house also. It is still being planted which is VERY late. This whole year has been late. I got started late in the spring and still haven't been able to catch up.

The parsnips growing at the far end of the row are about ready.  Their flavor improves tremendously after a frost so we will start harvesting soon.  They store well in the ground so some will be left for later.  All must be eaten before the dead of winter or it will be impossible to pull them out of the frozen soil. The watermelon vines didn't bother them since they were able to peek over the top of the leaves and still get sunlight.

One of the five strawberry plants left decided to produce a few strawberries.


It was a success putting herbs under the okra plants and I will do it again.  Some plants in this row are still alive even though we have had a few mild touches of frost.

Both the Calendula and Lemon Verbena have survived to this date.  The Calendula was not a surprise, but I wasn't expecting the Lemon Verbena to make it.  I had harvested the leaves way down and it grew back.  Any day now I will dig it up and bring it in to see if it will live through the winter.

Lemon Verbena
Planting lettuce in the hot summer in the shade under the okra plants was also a success.  Lettuce never survives the heat and this is my first victory.  They grew slowly during the hot weather then took off when it cooled down.  

Another experiment I am trying is planting Oregan Sugar Snap Peas under each okra stalk to see if the peas will grow up it for support.  

The last two rows next to the field fence will be winter hoop houses.  The hoops are up but the covers aren't on yet.  Some of the seedlings were transplanted this week and I don't know if they will be able to make it through the winter.  If November is warm, they will be fine, if not, they won't.  It is risky planting so late but it is the best I could do this year.


"I couldn't resist Mom...the dirt feels so cool on my tummy...feels soooooo good...

...like I am Floating on a CloudZZZZZZZZZZ!

Additional Links

How Scooter views freshly tilled garden soil.
Scooter, Floating on a Cloud

Last Month's September's Garden (2018)

Monster Melon, August's Garden (2018)

Last Year's October Garden (2018)


  1. I love seeing your garden. I agree with your husband....you don't need as much food as you used to. When we went from cooking for many down to cooking for a few, it was a huge learning curve. At least I went through it gradually, as they grew up and left slowly. (My youngest is still only 14, so it's going to be a while until we have an completely empty nest.)

  2. Your friend Becky is right. As your household is smaller , you could reduce the cultivated area.
    Maybe you also would like to experiment a bit with new kinds of vegetables or herbs or flowers.
    That makes garden work even more "exiting" You could also use the time saved for other pleasant tasks or for relaxation which is also important. Finally remember, when your sons come home for
    visits they would be happy to take some of your home-made preserves with them.

  3. Garden's are a delight even in the fall. It's amazing how much we can get out of one patch even if there were a lot of weeds like mine. I'm glad for a little rest from the work.

  4. Christel has the right ideas! I would grow more flowers if it were my garden.
    I had the same disappointing results with store-bought hybrid tomatoes. Sigh...
    Armadillos are really weird - it figures a group would have a weird name like a fez. I am glad we don't have them here.

    1. I will plant more flowers. There is no such thing as too many flowers! Since Dustin is gone, I am once again having trouble buying fewer groceries. Even my husband commented on how overly stuffed the refrigerator has become but I am not worried yet. Reese called and he will be home for a week!!!!! Yahoo!!!!! Another son to stuff full of food. I am not picky. I don't care which one is home just as long as I have someone hungry at the table. He won't let the goodies in the fridge go to waste. Such a good boy.