The Joy of Landscaping

A Gardening Blog

Planting Fall Vegetables

Part 9: A Beginner's First Year of Vegetable Gardening

With just one Sungold cherry tomato plant, one red pepper plant and a few basil plants remaining, the summer vegetable season is about over. Given that I missed the spring planting season, I definitely wanted to get some cool season veggies planted for a fall harvest. In August and September, I planted seeds of carrots, looseleaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, several types of peas, spinach, cilantro, arugula, radishes and broccoli, My garlic bulbs just arrived in the mail last week and are also planted, but I'll have to wait until next summer to reap their benefits.

Unfortunately, our monsoon weather continued in late summer. The region's record rainfall has made my first year of vegetable gardening a challenge. For example, I had placed a row cover on the broccoli plants right after planting, which did a great job of keeping out the bugs. But, the rain and humidity were leading to mushy plants, so I've had to remove it to get better air circulation. That's worked, but now grasshoppers are eating big holes in the leaves. Sometimes gardening is like playing wack-a-molel

So what cool season veggies seem to be working? The carrots have nice large fronds, the arugula looks good, and the cilantro is coming in nicely. In spite of the broccoli challenges, I have gotten some good stalks harvested and hope for plenty more. Sugar snap and snow peas from bush plants have already gone into yummy stir-frys. The romaine lettuce looks fine, but the looseleaf lettuce and spinach just haven't germinated well. Also, I think I planted the radishes too early, and left them in the ground too long - they've come out like long tubers with tough skins instead of smooth red balls.

I've noticed that the soil level in the raised beds is significantly lower than when I filled them last fall. So with a batch of planters mix soil delivered, I've been topping up the beds as things get pulled out. A mixed cover crop of oats with austrian peas has gone into some of the beds as well. I'm not making the same mistake with rye and losing out on another spring season! I must say, that the rye and hairy vetch did do a great job of keeping out weeds all last winter and spring.

As a little treat, I purchased wind chimes and hung them on a hook next to the fence door of the vegetable garden. It's nice to hear the sounds while working the beds!