In the Garden:
Southern Coasts
September, 2000
Regional Report

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Peppers and tomatoes crowd into the fall garden.

Squeezing In Fall Vegetables

My fall vegetable garden is off to its usual offbeat start. Like lots of gardeners, I suffer qualms whenever I need to rip out something that's not quite gone yet in favor of the new and unknown. Right now the pepper collection is going strong, the butterbeans have inexplicably begun to produce again, the eggplants didn't succumb to flea beetles, and both pattypan and yellow squash look like they'll bloom again. I cannot pull them out without bad dreams of St. Fiacre decrying my waste.

More Vegetables

However, I do need to plan for the future. Even though some July-planted pepperoncini peppers and tomato varieties are still small, later this month, I'll be planting broccoli, spinach, and lettuce in the same area. It's getting tight in there. I guess the garlic and shallots can squeeze in under the bean trellis - those vines will die over the winter, won't they? In fall the garden becomes a mix of the young and old.

Planting Strategies

To make all this "close" planting work, I need to use my space efficiently. The whole system works as long as I plant in wide beds and remember it's a race for water, nutrients, sunlight, and shade. Each transplant gets a teaspoon of complete vegetable garden food in its planting hole. I add soaker hoses and shallow wells for new transplants plopped in with established plants and take advantage of the shade the tall ones provide. A 1- inch-wide band of a complete fertilizer down the center of the bed and a 1-inch-deep blanket of compost will prepare the old tomato row for new tenants. I dust garden lime into the soil to ready it for spinach.

It's a study in contrasts, but with its old and young plants nestled in cheek by jowl, the fall vegetable garden is my favorite.


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