October Veggie Day

It being the twentieth of the month can mean only one thing, time for the update on the veggie/food garden, an idea hatched by friend and fellow Tennessee blogger Tina of In The Garden-TN. The summer production is slowly grinding to a halt while the fall sowing has shown promise. Above are a couple of swiss chard plants backed by the strawberry bed. The chard is practically evergreen here and can be harvested all winter. It is as ornamental as it is nutritious.The results of an August sowing show the sugar snap peas looking good. Even if there are no peas, who will pollinate them?, the leaf tips are edible. A nice parsely plant is in the middle of the cage, to be protected from first the black swallowtail caterpillars and now the grazing rabbits. Arugula, spinach, lettuce and cilantro had to be resown through chickenwire after the squirrels had a digfest with the first batch. Germination of the arugula and spinach has already begun.Hangers on from summer, volunteer yellow pear tomatoes, very bad at splitting are those, purple basil in flower and some cuban style peppers called Aruba are looking good. This is my favorite type of pepper for rellenos, the skin is so thin that there is no peeling necessary.There is a glut of jalapenos, but not to fear, a recipe for poppers made in the oven was recalled from the Pennsylvania kitchen of Silence Dogwood of Poor Richard’s Almanac.Oh so long ago we started seeds in the greenhouse/sunroom of red cippolino onions. Theses have been in the ground for many months and are looking better than ever. The leaf stalks are still green and upright, who knows when the best time would be to harvest them? I am going with the theory that they can stay in the ground as long as they don’t begin to flower. The plan is to pull them as needed.Garlic was planted in late September and covered with a thick layer of the rakings by the Financier of the lawn thatch followed by some plastic netting to keep pesky squirrel excavators at bay. It has worked and the very first garlic spike was spotted today.Arugula and radishes were planted in the raised box. Beets and lettuce were also sown but were dug up by the squirrel raiders. We are hoping that rosemary cuttings will deter the diggers with its strong aroma. We are rich in rosemary and like to do major pruning on it whenever we get the whim. If this would work to protect baby seedlings it would save on the expenditure of chickenwire.Here is a promising radish, French breakfast.While visiting at Christopher’s we noticed in his veggie bed the largest radishes ever. They had to be the size of baseballs. That is really too much radish for my taste buds to digest though. I prefer mine more like golf balls.

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22 Responses to October Veggie Day

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This post always makes me hungry.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. This is one time that the photos look better than reality. I guess being able to crop and zoom on the veggies lets us see them better. I though the onions were especially pretty with their purple reds. ;->

  2. tina says:

    OMG! I am so jealous it all looks really good-especially those red onions. I remember when you started the seeds. They sure look sweet. My garlic is a bit behind yours as I am still waiting to pull the summer veggies to make room. They are calling for a frost this morning so we’ll see if that is the end of the veggies. Gotta get it done soon. Those peas and chard looks sweet too. Looks good enough to eat:)

    Hi Tina, thanks. It is in the thirties right now but no frost yet. Those seed started onions have really taken a long time to grow. I had given up on them during the drought but didn’t pull them out and then they started getting new leaves, a pleasant surprise. Now is we can keep those squirrels from ruining everything we might get a harvest of greens anyway before winter sets in.

  3. tina says:

    Gee I thought I was the first commenter then saw Lisa’s comment. Oh well. I have to travel all the way to Nashville just to take a test and I only found out last night so I am up very early this morning. ttyl

    Oh Tina, and you just getting back from a long trip too. Yes Lisa was an early bird.


  4. ourfriendben says:

    Beautiful, Frances! I am SO jealous of all that great rosemary! You should see my one pathetic survivor (I can never resist trying more, both in-ground and in pots, but they just seem to hate it here). I really had to think twice before taking pity and hauling it into the greenhouse. Try those jalapeno poppers, you’ll like them! I just made a batch last night. We had beautiful pepper plants, just glowing with hot peppers, yesterday, as well as some volunteer cherry tomatoes and an unstoppable ‘Butternut’ squash vine, but after last night’s 29 degrees and frost, I fear that’s all probably history today! But at least the arugula should still be coming on strong. I’m appalled by your squirrel marauders creating such a challenge in the veggie beds. You need outdoor cats!

    Hi OFB, thanks. Kitty would love to be an outdoor cat for sure, but every time he sneaks out there is a dead bird at the doorstep in the morning ;-< We could not overwinter rosemary in out NE TN house but it goes crazy here. I have seen rosemary in a sheltered bed in Berwick though, so it’s possible. Drainage is key. Try digging out and filling the hole with cactus mix and mulch with gravel on a south facing wall by the house if you have one. We are in the thirties here this morning, I will check the tomatoes and peppers. Thanks for that great recipe.

  5. Kim says:

    Frances, you always make me envious. We have no fall garden because we are totally redoing it in the spring – expanding and adding a little path – and we’re doing a bit of prep work now. What you have is bounty, and it looks delicious – especially the chard. Next year! Next year!

    Hi Kim, thanks, you will have a fantastic garden next year. Do plant the chard. We started ours from seed last winter in the greenhouse. I will do it again since the plants get so rangy after winter and will want fresh ones. We appreciate it more in the winter when there is little else going on.

  6. Nancy Bond says:

    Everything looks like it’s thriving — how lucky you are, I say again, to be able to have a fall garden!

    Hi Nancy, thanks. We are very lucky where we live. I have tried to plant arugula before not realizing that the squirrels were foiling my plans. This year, forewarned is forearmed!


  7. Rose says:

    Your veggies look so healthy, Frances; my poor veggie garden is done for the year.
    I had no idea squirrels liked garlic–do they actually eat it? I don’t think I’d want to be near that squirrel:) I’m curious about the red onions–are they sweeter than others?
    Looks like you will have fresh vegetables to eat for quite a while.

    Hi Rose, thanks, they do. We have not had frost yet and it looks like it is going to warm up a little for the rest of the week. The squirrels don’t eat the garlic, they don’t eat anything, they are digging large holes for the baseball sized walnut that they bury everywhere and kill the germinating baby greens, and expose bulbs in their mad digging. We will have chard at least, all winter.

  8. Marnie says:

    Frances, wow you have a supper salad growing there. I didn’t do many veggies this year. Still have tomatoes, that’s about it.

    Hi Marnie, thanks. We will have greens to keep us healthy. ;-> It is probably time to pick our green tomatoes, the cold nights won’t let them ripen on the vines sadly.

  9. Oh, I’m jealous, too! Too bad you have those pesky squirrels. Between the squirrels, rabbits, deer and the home owners’ association, we don’t try to garden. Fences here are restricted to either wrought iron/aluminum picket (too expensive) or 3 board pasture fence (deer go through it and jump over it) neither of which keep rabbits out. Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks. I have seen people use those pasture fences, I like that look, with hardware cloth on the inside of them down to the ground, it is really invisible and keeps out the rabbits.


  10. Dave says:

    It’s all looking good! I think I dropped the ball on fall planting this year, too much work to do on the patio. Our tomatoes will be nearing their end. Time for some fried green tomatoes!

    Hi Dave, thanks. I was thinking about you as I just ran an errand this morning and noticed that all the leaves are still mostly green on the trees except for the dogwoods. Are we not going to get any fall color here? The bradford pears are as green as summer. Just so you know I didn’t forget your fall foliage meme, we just don’t have any! Time to pick our tomatoes too I think.

  11. Gail says:

    Frances, Hi and good morning! The cool days have slowed me down…but not your beautiful garden! I love Swiss Chard and it now resides in my garden….I purchased two pots of it a few weeks ago. Tasty and good looking! I know the temps say fall but looking around at all the growing plants and green leaves in the canopy trees, it’s hard to believe! Good news about the warming trend; it will make my visit to Faire Gardens even better! I am so very excited to see the garden and compare it to the one I have constructed in my imagination! Real will be better. Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. The garden doesn’t seem to know about the concept of slowing down just yet and I’m glad. I want it to look good for your visit. Even the muhly is hanging on with purple bruise phase. The leaves are still green here too, maybe I just never paid attention to the date of the peak color before blogging. I only cared about having to deal with the fallen leaves on the paths so we don’t trip. Just a few leaves on the ground now though.

  12. Racquel says:

    Your fall veggie garden is looking great Frances. Those darn squirrels have been trying to dig up my flower bulbs too. 😦

    Hi Racquel, thanks, those darn squirrels is right. They are the thorn in my side. I have just filled all the birdfeeders too and the squirrels are a problem there also. I am only using the squirrel proof ones this year. I need more of them. I lay pieces of rebar in a grid over the existing bulb beds, that seems to help some.


  13. commonweeder says:

    Somehow I’ve never heard of Veggie Day, but what an idea – and what a lot is still going on in your garden. We finally had pretty good frost but there is a bit of lettuce in the garden, and beets to dig. At this time of the year I get jealous of your climate.

    Hi Commonweeder, this is something Tina wanted to start, there may be other types of veggie days besides this one, but we will try and post something on the 20th in the way of food growing. There may be a couple of months when the pickin’s are meager though. ;->

  14. Monica Milla says:

    Frances, the chard is gorgeous! I love all your closeups, but am also interested in a wide shot of your entire veggie bed(s). You’ve probably already posted one earlier, so can you please point me in its direction? Thanks! We’ve had frost and I pulled the last of my tomatoes off the vine yesterday. I still have some horseradish in the ground.

    Hi Monica, thanks. Horseradish is very hardy isn’t it? I have looked for a recent shot of the veggie bed, can’t remember when the last time a photo of it was posted, not lately it seems. It is a long narrow space, fifty feet by eight feet with paths on each side so the planting area is only five feet wide. We are in the process of building a wall on the low end so it is level and that gives me a place to sit and tend it. We are about two thirds done with that. There is a hedge of arborvitae on the property line that runs the length and another hedge of gold mops chamaecyparix on the other side. The veggie area is in between these two hedges. https://fairegarden.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/food-in-the-garden/


  15. Philip says:

    What a wonderful vegetable garden! We just planted for the fall. I must have swiss chard! I like your ingenious approch with chicken wire, netting and rosemary! I hope that works, as i will try it tonight.
    Best regards,

    Hi Philip, so nice to see you. Thanks for the kind words. We had some swiss chard just tonight, torn in pieces and sauteed in olive oil with garlic bits, also from the garden!, then our home made tomato sauce, meatballs and tortellinis topped with fresh basil and parmesan. It feels good to take things from the garden to the table. I am so hoping the rosemary works to stop the evil diggers. Everyday there is new devastation from them.

  16. Brenda Kula says:

    As beautiful and lush as flowers. What everyone, including me, needs to be doing right now. Growing their own food. Got to get with it and find some space!

    Hi Brenda, thanks. This is really the first year we have tried to get serious about feeding ourselves. I love it and will plan on expanding the space devoted to it. Good luck with your efforts!

  17. layanee says:

    I love swiss chard for its’ vibrant beauty in addition to its’ flavor. You have quite a bouty growing in that veggie garden.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. We have found swiss chard to be one of the easiest and long lasting edibles to grow in these parts. The veggie garden has done us proud.

  18. I am very inspired by your garden. My son and I recently moved from North Florida, where I used to have a vegetable and flower garden(s), to a rocky hillside here in SE Tennessee. I’ve started a small patch for now, but the soil is VERY clayish and ROCKY. Removed more than 100 small rocks from my little patch. From your pictures, it seems like you have overcome the challenges of growing a garden “on a slope in a small Tennessee town”. I have grown arugula and swiss chard also, and LOVE the taste of arugula. In North FL, you can only grow greens in the winter, since it bolts and is not tasty at all in the summer there. Tomatoes, peppers, okra, beans and melons grow well in the FL summer. I usually relied on heirloom varieties, because they were hardier and more resistant to the fungal infections and insect infestations that are the bane of Florida gardeners. (I wasn’t into spraying or dusting). Can’t wait to get my garden going here!

    I have had rabbit problems in my gardens before, like your squirrel problem. I had “professional” help with these, in the form of MANY snakes of all kinds in the location I lived in at the time, and my cats. Because of this help, I did not have to put any netting down.

    Hi Rebbeca, so nice to meet you. You are quite close to me so our growing conditions must be similar. After gardening in Florida this soil must have been a shock to you. Keep adding compost, leaf mulch, non chemical grass clippings and I especially like the bagged soil conditioner from the big box stores. Even though the soil seems terrible, things still love to grow in it, rocks and all. There is good stuff in that clay. The greens will bolt here also in the summer also but the veggies you mentioned will all do well. Good luck and welcome to TN! (and Fairegarden).

  19. chuck b. says:

    Awesome chard leaves! Those get so infested with leaf miner in my garden, I can’t stand to grow it. I guess there are some remedies available for that.

    Hi Chuck, thanks. Ohhh I hate leaf miners. I wouldn’t know about remedies, the only one I use is chickenwire. I do grow the ruby chard, it is so easy from seed. There were a couple of green leaf seeds in the packet it seems, which is fine for they make good eating too.

  20. Karen says:

    Frances, thanks so much for adding my site to your blogroll. That made my day! I’m glad to see you are having at least some success combating the squirrels. I haven’t used chicken wire in a while, but I may have to when it comes to protecting the mesclun seedlings and the fall bulbs which I’m ashamed to say are yet to be planted. Tomorrow! Thanks for reminding me of its usefulness. – Karen

    Hi Karen, you are most welcome. Using the chickenwire, starting last year has turned the battle against the diggers to my favor. It looks terrible but it works. They will dig up every single pansy plant plant if it is not protected with a large rock or wire. I plan to remove the netting from the garlic once the stalks are larger but will leave it on the greens and harvest what is above it. Now if the rabbits start eating that there will have to be a fence contructed around the whole thing. Such a nuisance to get to the veggies then but what we had to do this spring. It’s not too late for the bulb planting. I plan to get some more when they get marked way down at the big box stores closer to the holidays.

  21. Oh…I wish I could have such an October vegetable garden. Yummie / LOL Tyra

    Hi Tyra, could you grow some in your gorgeous greenhouse?


  22. julian says:

    Those look so good, especially the red onion. Have you ever tried growing bak choi? I’m planning on starting some soon – any tips?

    Hi Julian, thanks and welcome. I have never grown bok choi before so don’t have any helpful hints, sorry. It does sound like a good plant to try though, thanks!

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