Monday, October 3, 2011

Recapping the season

It’s October. At this point, the season here in Western New York is winding down.
This marked the first year I ever direct seeded every single plant in my garden.
No starting plants indoors.

No buying plants at the nursery, or even worse, big box store.

Just pull seeds from my alphabetized catologue, read the package and stick them in the ground at the appropriate depth.

With the exception of peppers, everything came up.

I let several “volunteer” tomato plants grow as well. One yielded huge, beefsteak type tomatoes. Another patch produced delightful cherry tomatoes.

I also decided to let a tomatillo plant that reseeded itself from last year go and ended up with a prolific yield.

Experiments in succession planting continue – after thinning beets, I planted broccoli almost too close. The broccoli finally looks big and healthy but if it yields florets it will happen sometime later this month.

Corn was a dismal failure. It never got very large. It was looking close to harvest but puny compared to the roadside offerings in the neighborhood. Then the mean old racoons struck, pulling each ear half from it’s stalk and gnawing a bit before moving on to the next one.
After years of dear problems, I didn’t have issues. The neighborhood coyotes seem to keep the rabbits in check.

I suspect my fence succeeded, but if they wanted in, it would have happened. I won’t pretend I could keep racoons out.

Spinach was a challenge to grow because it yielded so fast I had to be continuously re-seeding.
Carrots always take longer to maturity than the package says.

Weeds were another challenge. Anyone who works full time and gardens has, at one time or another fallen behind on weeding. It happened to me as well.

I’m hoping for radish seeds in the mail because they yield so quickly I bet I can get some to serve at Thanksgiving.

Find the time to be nice to your soil as well. Work in organic matter and spread a layer of mulch before calling it a year. Try to leave at least some of your space ready for planting.

Next time I’ll talk about things you can try overwintering or seeding to grow as soon as the snow melts.

Thanks for reading.
(Joe Genco is a contributing writer and an average, but passionate gardener. You can contact him at

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