Slugs have snarfed most of my fall lettuce seedlings. Cabbage worms are devouring my Brussels sprouts, leaving behind their attractive green poop in the process. Lovely, huh? I should be having a fit; something’s gone wrong with the latest batch of turnips I planted, too, and an unsightly brown-spotting, leaf-withering plague is covering my baby bok choy. But I’m not upset.
I’m just so happy to be back in my garden after too many hours, too many days away in recent weeks. Here I am in my comfort zone, coffee cup in one hand, scissors in the other, snipping cranberry beans in the early morning fog, the air so wet that moisture beads up on my stainless steel bowls. I can hear Sugar clucking—she’s about to lay her daily blue egg; and another swirl of honking geese swoops noisily overhead, the surest sign of fall I know.
True, the fall garden may not be as productive as the summer garden, but it is amazing how tenacious some vegetables are. In addition to those pest-resisting cranberry beans (of the crazy-beautiful pink speckled color), our bush beans are still yielding several pounds of green beans every couple of days. And these are the same plants we started harvesting the second week of July! And no one has told the tomato plants to hibernate; not only are we still picking cherry tomatoes and beefsteaks, but the plants are still flowering. The pole beans are going nuts, a few butternuts are ripening, and I have a nice patch of arugula. But I think maybe the best part about the fall garden is all the overgrown bits—so romantic. The runaway marigolds and unstoppable nasturtiums have run ramshod over pots, tables, gates and (unfortunately) other plants, making the kind of accidental landscape no gardener can plan. I will never, ever, have a garden without nasturtiums as they are simply the most beguiling flowery vines I know.
Today marks four months exactly since we opened the farm stand. Amazing that we are still harvesting—and folks are still coming down the driveway. Now, we get to think about next year. This patch of green behind the current garden (below) may be just the place to double our planting area. A little slopey, but we’ll make it work. Can’t wait.