The season is beginning to turn towards fall: the evenings are cooler, the hay is being baled in the fields, and the geese occasionally appear overhead, contemplating the journey south.
The garden didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but the efforts to eliminate the quackgrass have been more successful than I dared to believe. Oh, there’s still lots of the stuff around the edges, but the central planted garden beds are reasonably weed-free. I now know why people like to plant in rows instead of the intensive square foot method: when you have a large garden and a lot of weeds to deal with, the rows mean you can just walk through the garden, hoe in hand, and scritch up anything that is growing where you didn’t plant anything. Of course, this works better if the dog doesn’t get into the garden and dig a cool spot in the dirt before your seeds get started – thanks to Mackenzie, I have a few plants growing in odd places as the seeds got tossed several feet to one side when he dug up his napping place in the spring. Still, my long-handled half-moon hoe has seen good use since the initial clearing with my mattock. I think next year, I’ll try the same approach: dig up the stubborn roots with the mattock, rake everything smooth, plant in rows, keep the space between the rows cleared with the hoe, and slice out anything too close to the plants with the hori-hori knife.
Next year, I’ll also be planting earlier. In fact, I hope to experiment with some fall seeding under cover: if I clear out some space in one of the beds this fall and put the row cover in place, I should be able to put out some cold-hardly seeds after the winter chill sets in. When spring comes, they’ll ‘sprout when ready’. I had some plants that survived the winter with no cover or anything – some feverfew, onions, and a few other herbs, so if they made it on their own, they might do well with a bit of help.
I’ll also get a bed ready for early spring planting: if Kevin Kossowan can do this in his city back yard, I think it’s worth a try out here too!
In the meantime, I’ll keep checking the corn (we have a few cobs growing out there), the squash (I see some spaghetti squash and what I think are pumpkins … I didn’t mark which thing I planted where and all the squash plants look alike to me), and the tomatoes (there’s a few tiny little tomatoes on the vines, I have no idea if anything will get big enough to use before the frosts come but we can hope).
In fact, I should probably go out there now, wander the rows with the hoe in my hand, and see what I can see.