Fall Gardening

Black pearl peppers

Black pearl pepper plant – the “black pearls” will turn red when ripe and spicy

Somehow the summer has rushed head on into fall. A couple days ago, we had a cold front move in – dropping the temperature from a balmy 105˚ to a frigid 91˚F. The break from the intense heat finally let me start entertaining the idea of working outside to prepare my fall garden. After tearing out Swiss chard and okra plants this morning from last fall (that deep-rooted 10′ okra put up quite a fight and I have a skinned knee to prove it!), I amended the soil with some compost.

I also have a lot of spring survivors that I kept: basil, parsley, chives, mustard greens, sage, 3 types of hot peppers, beautiful red lima beans, 4 kinds of mint, oregano, tarragon, 1 lemon grass plant. Yes, the majority ARE perennials, and hopefully they’ll survive through the winter!

Purple Basil

Purple basil

Mint

Mint

lima

Dixie speckled butter beans

Either way, tomorrow I will sow new seeds. Beets, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, eggplant, and kale have all made the list so far.

I also just finished drying my test batch of Dixie speckled butter beans, a form of bush lima bean (I found these and the black pearl peppers at Landreth Seed Company, they have all sorts of unusual heirloom varieties). To dry them, I simply harvested them, left them alone on the counter for a week, and then shelled them once dry. I only have 2 plants growing, so it will probably take the next few batches just to make 1 cup of dried beans, which will only make about 2 cups, or 1 can’s worth! I appreciate the  beans farmers even more now…

lima

Dixie speckled butter beans, aka baby lima beans

Do you plan on having a fall garden? What will you grow?

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