🍂 fall garden planning, pt 3 🍂
this week = last chance to plant!
If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, I highly recommend that you skim them! Part 1 lays out how to choose what to grow for fall. Part 2 lays out fall timing principles, fall benefits, a calendar resource, and seeds vs transplants.
In December of last year when I began writing again, I made 3 agreements. To be more myself, and incorporate it into this newsletter. To avoid the second arrow*. And to write, garden, and create just for the reward of doing it — not to be the best at anything.
*In Buddhism there is a parable called the second arrow. The (loose) idea is that being hit with the first arrow is an unavoidable human experience. For example, my First Arrow may be that I become overwhelmed one week and do not write a newsletter when I plan to. The Second Arrow is the one I shoot at myself: I didn’t follow through again. I can’t keep my commitments. I’m not a disciplined person. I suck. 🏹
I took the last month off of writing — and not intentionally. It turns out that (for me) creating a brand new life, working with my body, and deciding to observe rather than judge myself means I have way more energy and doing capacity — but less discipline in the way I’ve always thought of it. It also means I’m having feelings in a big way for the first time. I am shooting so many more second arrows, but I am learning to pull them out almost immediately. The practice of apologizing to or having compassion for myself has made it easier to apologize to or have compassion for others.
Avoid the second arrow. But if it flies, remove it gently and quickly before it lodges deep between your shoulders.
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AUGUST RECAP FOR MY OWN MEMORY
Went to Greyson Highlands to stand on top of the world. Celebrated Max’s birthday. Celebrated our 11th anniversary. Got into a car accident. Chopped my hair off. Went back to therapy. Found Chocolate Joe Pye and a person who cares as much as me. Helped with a rooftop garden, a patio garden, a backyard shade garden, a cut flower farm, a landscaping project that required 5 pallets of river stone, three raised bed gardens, and taught 5 little children how to plant. Found a botanical garden converted into an outdoor wine bar. Took a lot of walks alone. Navigated family grief. Played with wild kittens. Realized that my visceral understanding of love, sex, relationships, and emotions have all been defined by men and masculine environments and that I don’t know what they really are to me. Went tubing with my friends. Got a CPA.
TO DO THIS WEEK
(1) Summer clean up in the garden, (2) amend your soil, and (3) plant your direct sow seeds and transplants outdoors immediately, if you have not already.
If you will be adding row covers/frost protection, you can also start indoor seeds for any late-fall/winter plants this week — mostly your freeze-hardy asian greens and very tough lettuces. Chijimisai, Tatsoi, Kale, Chinese Cabbage, Mizuna, Mustards, Mache, Spinach, Arugula. I have grown and love Merlot, Rouge d’Hiver, and Tom Thumb. But, I have been researching better cool-hardy lettuces and have found the Salanova types from Johnny’s, Landis Winter, Slobolt, Winter Marvel, Merveille de Quatre Saisons, Winter Density, and Arctic King.
🥦 Note that cabbage and brussels sprouts have a 50/50 chance of heading if planted this late. They have long maturation periods (100-120 days) and the days may be too short soon for them to continue their growth, even though they can tolerate the temps. Broccoli, cauliflower, and collards will likely be okay.
🧅 Garlic and onions can be planted now through mid November!
SUMMER CLEAN UP TIPS
Compost everything that isn’t diseased
Don’t compost tomatoes or squash plants (it’s my own rule). Put them in your yard cart or in their own corner where you won’t put it’s material back in your beds.
Leave kale in the ground unless it’s in very bad shape - it’s perennial and will recover in the spring!
Don’t pull out your perennial herbs (sage, oregano, thyme, tarragon, mint, lavender)
If something you love is still producing, leave it or prune it down to make it more manageable (usual culprits: tomatoes, runner beans, basil, winter squashes). As you continue to garden, you will learn how to plant these around the edges so that it’s easy to create space for fall plants before they get pulled out.
Don’t rip plants up by the root - simply cut the plant back at the ground level and leave the roots (with their blessed lil rhizophere ecosystems!!) in the ground to keep biology and nutrients in your beds. Exceptions: Tomatoes, squashes. Plants that were diseased, or root systems so big where you need to plant directly atop immediately and can’t plant off to the side.
Save seeds for anything you really loved!
AMEND YOUR SOIL
The amendment and fertilization approach differs based on where your initial soil came from, how many seasons you’ve been growing in it, location, and other factors. If you want a custom recommendation just leave a comment!
There is a bit more info in Part One but my go-to amendment is Foxfarm’s Happy Frog Soil Conditioner. I lay 2-4” on top and gently mix it into the top few inches of soil. Franks Perennial Border (in Winston) carries this.
Note: If you have plants in hand but no amendment, just go ahead and get them in the ground! We are racing the sun. Add Espoma Garden-Tone or Happy Frog fertilizer in the next week or two. You can amend more in the spring.
HARDEN OFF TRANSPLANTS FIRST
Whether I grow seeds indoors or purchase transplants from a nursery, I give them 3-4 days to harden off. Moving from a controlled environment to the great outdoors is shocking, and you can ease them into it by setting them out in the morning and bringing them in halfway through the afternoon, back under lights, on a porch, or in a bright window. This keeps them from getting scorched by the late summer sun.
If you forgot to do this and your new transplants are very wilt-y, you can put an umbrella or shade cloth over them! You can also be clever and create little tents out of cardboard or misc materials; just make sure you aren’t leaving them in the shade for days.
STARTING SEEDS INDOORS
On Tuesday, October 4th I will be teaching a class on creating an indoor seed-starting station and my tips for success. It is in-person and virtual, and if you cannot attend due to the time, I will likely be offering a few more through other venues over the winter. Make sure to RSVP to save your spot!
Other upcoming garden events around Winston-Salem (not taught by me):
Becoming A Beekeeper — September 19
Reynolda Fall Plant Sale - September 24
Paul J Ciener Fall Plant Sale - October 1
Becoming A Beekeeper (repeat) - October 13
Growing Microgreens - November 4
Understanding Plant Names - November 8
Until next time,