The Fall Garden

BY KENT PETTERSON 
There is something peaceful about the fall garden that settles in for me about the end of September. How about you? The harvest isn’t finished, but it has established a rhythm that will continue even past the first killing frost. Plants, mostly unwanted weeds, are no longer growing new seedlings as their season of growth has past. It is best to cut back on fertilizer in the garden this time of the year. Plants want to slow down, stop their top growth to conserve energy in their roots, as they get ready for winter.
Gardeners can start getting ready too. I was lazy this year and did not deadhead the peonies. Those spent blossoms and all the growing stems are now cut down as the usual onset of powdery mildew had covered all their stems and leaves. It is pleasing to me to see empty space in the garden as you see you are making progress toward putting the garden to bed. Everything doesn’t need to happen in one day or weekend. The Pleasant Arena composting site is open — see below for hours.
I tried our carrots recently and found them of good size, but poor flavor. They are still in the growth mode and not storing sugars that make them sweet. It takes cooling temps and some frost to get the message across. I have gotten a variety of reports on the tomato crop. If we get a couple more weeks of good sun without a frost, the heavy load of green tomatoes should turn from green fried to red ripe. Gardeners and our farmers are thinking a delay in the killing frost this fall season is needed. Here’s hoping.
Summit Hill Yard Waste Collection Site, 870 Pleasant Ave., 651-633-3279. Tuesday & Thursday closed. Sunday, 11am-5pm; Monday, 11am-7pm; Wednesday & Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm.

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