Early-fall Garden Report

Autumn has barely arrived, and the leaves have already started to drop around here.

by Jessica Walliser
Photo by Jessica Walliser
My fall garden is giving me lots of goodies to put up for winter.

Autumn has barely arrived, and the leaves have already started to drop around here.  We’ve had to rake a section of our back yard twice already, as the leaves were clumping on the grass and blowing into our water feature. 

I’m guessing the early drop, and an unfortunate lack of gorgeous fall color beforehand, is due to the lack of rain this summer.  It seems that every time we have a dry summer, fall comes early and fast.  I’m sure there is some scientific reasoning for this.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m missing the long, colorful fall we had last year.  And, of course, it makes me wonder what winter has in store for us in just a few short months.

But before it arrives, I’ve got big plans. In addition to lots of raking, I’d love to fully mulch my front perennial bed with leaf compost. The idea is to do it this fall so I can not do it next spring.  I desperately need to get in there and clean up/cut back all my iris (which always look so terribly ratty to me come late summer), pull out all the calendula that haven’t bloomed in a month, trim the over-grown Salvia and deadhead the purple vervain so that I’m not up to my elbows in seedlings in spring.  I’m hoping this “clean up” opens up some space between the plants so mulching won’t be so difficult. Fingers crossed.

We really have been enjoying the autumn harvests from the veggie garden.  The beets are delightful,l and I’ve been picking many winter squash and eating them roasted, pureed into soup and added to stir-fries.  And, much to my surprise, the tomatoes are still cranking.  We had a little rain late last week, so some of them are splitting open, but many others are ripening just fine. I made one last batch of tomato soup last week.  Now we should have enough to see us through a winter that, no matter what the weather brings, will taste like summer.

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