An Unusual Fall Harvest

Over the past few years, I’ve regularly planted a fall vegetable garden. In August I plant things like kale, chard, lettuce, beets and carrots. All of these plants do well in the cooler fall weather and they make use of the space in the garden where the summer crops once grew.

But yesterday I brought in an unusual harvest for late September. I picked a pint of strawberries, a couple zucchini and a nice bunch of green beans – not your typical fall harvest.

The strawberries came from the day-neutral plants that I set out in April. They’ve grown well this year and the fall harvest has been good. I thought they might not have a true strawberry taste but that isn’t the case. The berries are great and the cooler weather is limiting the picnic beetle damage.

I’m harvesting zucchini because I planted some seeds in late July. This year the earlier plants had been killed by borers and not bacterial wilt. The borers aren’t a problem after early July so I thought I’d give a late planting a try. The plants grew well and started producing very early. I’ve noticed that the cooler weather has slowed the growth of the fruit but that’s actually a good thing. Instead of being inundated with squash, I’m picking a few squash each week. The plants have developed some fungus on the leaves but aside from that they look good.

During the season I sowed a few plantings of beans. They did OK but the plants were very small due to the dry summer that we had. I had read that you can plant beans in this area until the beginning of August so I tried a late planting. The seeds germinated quickly in the warm soil and plants are the best of the season. We’ve had some nice rain and the beans are producing well. The only difference from a summer crop is that I don’t have to pick them as often. In the heat of summer I’d be picking them every few days; now I’m picking them about once a week.

It seems a little strange to be harvesting these summer crops in September but I’m not complaining. It’s nice to have the taste of summer on a cool autumn day.

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