(October 6, 2022) I’m back! Welcome to the second installment of my monthly garden notes and ideas from our country garden. It might seem odd that I started my monthly garden notes as peak garden season is winding down, but there is a bit of reason behind the madness.
(Note: If you want to understand why I call myself the reluctant gardener, check out the September edition of my garden notes.)
Reason 1. I’m not nearly as busy now as I am when gardening season is in full swing. The daily hours spent in the garden during peak season have been replaced with 30-45 minutes of watering, weeding and clean up.
Reason 2. I wanted to take a few notes related to what is working and what isn’t working in the garden before I forget. I’m hoping that I (and you) can use these notes to help plan for next year’s garden.
Reason 3. It was really hot last month when I started this monthly journal and writing was a great excuse to hang out inside a nicely air-conditioned room.
If you’re wanting to create a gardening journal of your own, check out this journal by Emily Ley. It’s a great planner and place to keep your gardening notes and ideas especially if you prefer a pen and paper journal.
Our Country Garden: September 2022
Early September showed signs of the promise of fall and then another heat wave took over and threatened to take out what was left in the garden. Fortunately, some of the garden survived and we wrapped up September with cool mornings and warm days.
My Cut Flower Garden
Zinnias: I managed several bouquets from my September zinnias, but after our final heat wave I threw in the towel and began cleaning up the zinnia beds. I planted two 4′ x 12′ raised beds with zinnias this season, three varieties in each bed. The benary varieties produced bright showy colors and large blooms. They were by far my favorite (both in the garden and in a bouquet) and are definitely a keeper for next season.
Review-2022 Zinnia Varieties
My Least Favorite: Desert Sunset Mix (I’m not a fan of seed mixes)
Lots of Blooms but Small: Oklahoma Pink, Oklahoma Salmon
Keepers: Benary’s Giant Coral, Benary’s Giant Bright Pink, Benary’s Giant Lilac
Dahlias: My dahlias aren’t doing much, the plants are still green but the grasshoppers are eating most of the flowers. I have considered replacing the dahlia beds with zinnias next season mostly because the zinnias work so well, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up on the possibility of dahlias.
Bill also reminds me of one of my favorite books when I think of throwing in the dahlia towel, 40 Chances by Howard G. Buffett. The title of the book is a reminder that we have 40 chances (or 40 seasons) in our lifetime to try our hand at gardening (the book was about farming, but close enough).
As I’m just wrapping up my second season of gardening, I’ve decided it’s not time to throw in the towel (even though the heat and grasshoppers are winning in most departments). Apparently, I still have 38 chances to get it right!
Pumpkins: I have pumpkins. THREE to be exact. Three vines and only three pumpkins, one per vine. The silver lining, I didn’t have an issue with squash bugs or deer this year.
However, I was hoping for loads of pumpkins.
I planted the pumpkins in the center of the same beds that my cosmos had been earlier in the season. One of the vines gravitated to the trellis and began climbing the trellis. I love how it looks and will try planting pumpkin vines on each of the trellises next season.
Pumpkins also like the sun and this year’s crop was probably shaded by the cosmos for too long.
Plant pumpkins on ALL of the trellises next summer (not in the center of the beds).
Bill’s Veggie Garden
The vegetable garden was in full swing during September. There was plenty to harvest and to plant.
Harvest: Tomatoes for the win! We managed a 2nd round of tomatoes after the summer heat wave passed. There were so many tomatoes that we were able to can a few last week and still have plenty to eat fresh.
We have also been harvesting summer squash, zucchini and Japanese eggplant. Our zucchini harvest includes a new favorite, Golden Egg Hybrid . It is Burpee’s taste test winner for two years running.
My favorite farm to table recipe right now is roasted squash with potatoes and onions. So good!
Keeper-Golden Egg Hybrid zucchini
Coming Soon: There will be lots of fresh veggies coming soon. Bill planted green beans, broccoli, and cabbage this month. He also sowed lots of winter greens including kale, spinach and swiss chard.
Around the Farm
The Bougainvillea and a handful of the Crape Myrtles are still going strong. But my current favorite is the Goldstrum Rudebeckia.
Goldstrum Rudebeckia: Goldstrum Rudebeckia lines the white fence in front of the barn and is one of the most hard working perennials on our farm. It stands up to the heat and the flowers take over late summer and into early fall as many of the other flowers around the farm begin to fade.
The most amazing feature of these clumps of cheery yellow flowers is that we started with just three plants about 10 years ago.
Crimson Clover: It’s official! Our crimson clover has been planted. We sowed crimson clover a few weeks ago. It’s such a great cover crop, beneficial and beautiful. To learn more about our crimson clover fields, check out this post I shared recently.
Our Country Garden: Planning Ahead
A few of our orders for fall have arrived and will need planting soon. Specifically peonies, alliums and garlic.
Bulbs, Bulbs and More Bulbs: I have also ordered most of my bulbs. This year I am planning on planting the daffodils around the farm and the tulips in containers (hoping to keep them away from the deer).
My inspiration for trying tulips in containers is Claus Dalby and his beautiful book, Containers in the Garden. Such a great book filled with year round container ideas.
9/4/22 Bulb Order
Crocus-Sempre Avanti Collection
Daffodils-Bridal Crown, Pink Champagne, Tahiti Landscaper Special, Sir Winston Churchill, Art Design
Tulips-Negrita, Dream Touch, Victoria’s Secret, Lotus Love, Peony Party Collection, King’s Orange, Amazing Grace, Salmon Impression, Foxy Foxtrot, Renown Unique
And if you’re needing a bulb planter, check out this bulb planter that I purchased last year. It works great!
A Few More Flowers: Bill loves daylilies and has an entire bed of them in our backyard. We also have quite a few irises around the property. We love to add new varieties each year and ordered a few to add this fall.
9/15/22 Flower Order
Source: Gilbert H. Wild & Son
Master Gardeners: One last note, last month I shared with you that I had applied for our county’s Master Gardener program. I was accepted and classes started September 6. So far our topics have included: 1. Basic Botany & Plant Physiology, 2. Entomology and 3. Soils & Composting.
That’s it for now. Message below in comments if you have any questions. You can also reach out to me on Instagram @pennypenningtonweeks.
Related Country Garden Posts
Our Country Garden: Notes and Ideas of the Reluctant Gardener, September 1, 2022
Planting a Field of Crimson Clover
How to Start Your Garden with Cool Season Vegetables