Adventures in Gardening: Sowing my Fall Garden

Starting a garden in the hellacious heat of this past summer was not so brilliant. But, how was I to know that we'd have record high temperatures for record long stretches?

I watered religiously, used organic fertilizers and organic pesticides/sprays and ended up with a whole lot of not a lot.

Seriously. I ended up with a dozen or more yellow sunburst tomatoes, 1 zucchini, 1 roma tomato, 1 little tiny jalapeno (that was bitter, not hot), and enough basil to make several batches of pesto.

Really, I was expecting a lot more. While I am disappointed in my first go-around, I'm not giving up. I learned a lot about what I should do (keep trying, what a squash bug is, what a squash borer is, and definitely trim & cage tomato plants) and even more about what not to do (overcrowd). I didn't get to can my own garden fresh salsa, but I did get to make and freeze enough pesto to last us for a very, very long time.

A few weeks ago I took a fall gardening class at one of the many local garden centers and learned a lot. I'm glad I went because the staff member who taught was very educated in horticulture, and was incredibly willing and excited to share her knowledge with us. She set us up with the information and know how to have a successful fall garden.

Now it's up to me to make it happen.

Since the moment I returned home from the fall gardening class, I've been working on my beds and getting them prepared for fall. I hand tilled fertilizer and compost, added even more compost (very rich), and added several other nutrients to the soil. Then, I let it rest.

Yep, just rest and wait it out for a week.

The following week, it was time to get going. I've planted all of the seeds, plated and caged the transplants (tomatoes), and watered. Tomorrow I'll put down a layer of alfalfa hay to try and hold in some moisture since our Texas sun and heat is so harsh.  Here are two of the three beds:

Hopefully I'll find my green thumb, and will have a much better fall harvest than summer.

What's up with the third bed?

Well, I'm staggering our planting. I don't want everything to be ready at once, and would like to stretch out some of our home grown produce as much as possible. I'll share photos of that bed when I get it down (in 2-3 weeks or so).

That's it for my fall garden so far. I'm learning, and really enjoying the learning part. I never ever would have imagined myself as a gardener and one who really REALLY enjoys it. Yes, it can be back bending and painful work, but the rewards are great. I expect (and hope) that our fall harvest will be very rewarding.

Only time and work will tell!

Are you gardening at home? What are you doing, and what are your greatest success tips?

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