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The bit of chill each morning alerts us to the changing of season, from summer to fall and the resulting refocus on cool-season veggie and posy crops. Even though daytime temperatures will continue to be blasting hot – this week’s threatened highs are in the high 90-degrees – but we know the trend is ultimately toward cooler temperatures. So we can begin the first of several sowings of overwintering types of edibles and posies.
Last night, I sowed into my seed trays bok choy, celery, chard, chives, cilantro, collards, several other greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley and spinach. Next week, directly into the beds where they’ll mature, I’ll sow beets, carrots, garlic, kohlrabi, peas and radishes. I’ll wait another month to purchase seedlings from nurseries of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower since they’re always much stronger than ones I start from seeds.
This time around, I was much more careful than I’ve been in the past about allowing only 2 seeds to fall into each section of the seed trays. Even if both of the seeds germinate, this will allow their root systems to develop more fully. Then, when they’re ready for transplanting, I’ll sacrifice the weaker of the two plantlets by cutting it off at the soil surface so I don’t disturb the root ball. The cut bits of foliage will go into that night’s salad.
Ordering Flowering Bulbs and Planting Seedlings
On the pretty side, I ordered several kinds of flowering bulbs from online sources so I’ll receive them as soon as they’re shipped, in a month or so, perfect time to plant into the cooling soil. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have some rain then to water them in!
I’ll also keep my eye on bulbs becoming available in local nurseries so I can immediately purchase the freshest, largest ones for planting. I know to choose big, plump bulbs as these have the most stored food and will produce the largest and most numerous blooms over the longest period of time. This is definitely NOT the time to wait for bargain prices at the end of the season!
When considering which bulb varieties to purchase, try to stay with ones that supposedly thrive within our local zones 9 and 10, especially if you’re interested in their potentially multiplying each year. Bulbs suitable for colder zones won’t get enough cold from our “winters” so probably won’t bloom or even survive past this first year.
I know this because in the past I’ve purchased quite a selection of different colors and shapes of daffodils, only to have them never reappear the following year. And this situation gets even worse with our increasingly warm winters due to climate change.
As overwintering flowering seedlings become available in nurseries, both annuals and perennials, I purchase some that promise long-time color until early spring. Some, like Johnny-Jump-Ups, I keep in mind to plant on top of the bulbs in large containers to offer color before, during, and after the bulbs do their thing.
2021 Tomato Results
This wasn’t a great year for my tomatoes, with 1013 fruits from 30 plants. Although this total number sounds good, 828 of them were from cherry-sized fruits, and only 185 of them either medium or large sized. The real successes were for two Sungold plants that yielded 667 fruits that I actually picked and ate, with many more going to my neighbors’ additional harvesting. The other good producers were Black Cherry, Celebrity, Green Zebra and Stupice.
185 Medium- to Large Fruits
14 Black Krim
1 Black Russian
3 Brandy Boy
63 Celebrity – 3 plants
2 Cherokee Carbon
11 Cherokee Purple – 2 plants
30 Green Zebra
0 Kellogg’s Breakfast (that’s right, none)
5 Paul Robeson – 2 plants
7 volunteers – 2 plants transplanted from my compost pile
828 Small and Cherry Fruits
1 Atomic Fusion
93 Black Cherry
1 Black Zebra
3 Brad’s Atomic Grape
1 Indigo Gold Berries
11 Isis Candy
20 Jaune Flamme
667 Sungold – 2 plants
31 volunteer – another seedling transplanted from my compost pile that I have no idea what it was!
My favorites in the flavor department are – in alphabetical order – Black Krim, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Isis Candy and Sungold. I’ll grow these varieties every year, usually with multiple plants because they’ve been so successful.
For more gardening opportunities and tasks, see September Monthly Tips