Right now outside it is a little chilly, but nice out, for the first time in days. It seems as soon as fall hit, it has been nothing but rain and more rain, which is actually the reverse of what my garden needs currently. My tomatoes are over watered, which means they split and are not good to eat (I would eat them if it weren't for bugs...).
A few weeks ago is when I decided I needed to start harvesting. I got out my dehydrator and started on my long list of things I grew so I could have them during the winter. My dehydrator is working overtime. I have dehydrated lemon verbena, raspberry leaves, chocolate mint, spearmint, and oregano. Stevia is in their right now. Then there will be thyme, sage, purple basil, cilantro, kale, and rosemary. Yes, I really said kale. I researched it since we have so much of it. We use it for soup anyway, so it will just rehydrate when we add it to the soup! I am leaving the kale out as long as I can also, since our praying mantis family has had it as their house all summer long.
I have learned a lot from my garden. I planted a little bit of everything this year, just so I could see what works and what doesn't.
We will start with what doesn't work. I will not be planting the following anytime in the next few years, but I can't say never, since I may try them again down the line. Potatoes - never grew, corn - fell over from rain and wind, cauliflower - never produced anything except big green leaves, zucchini - produced a few tiny fruit, then they rotted after a huge rain, acorn squash - lots of vines, no fruit, spaghetti squash - lots of vines, only 1 fruit, borage - not good to consume while pregnant or nursing (oops!), lemon verbena - grown for herbal tea, but not seeing me use it very much, pumpkin - heavy vines with no fruit, watermelon - produced 2 fruit, one split after days of rain and the other is still out there, and radish - I had lots of tops but no roots, so the rabbits got lots of this.
What I definitely will be replanting next year are purple basil, cilantro, stevia, snow peas, sweet peas, snap peas, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, medium hot peppers, jalapeno peppers, mini red bell peppers, marigolds, nasturtiums, tomatoes, carrots, kale, and spinach.
I am hoping to put the basil and stevia in their own pots next year so they can have more sun and room to branch out.
Some plants didn't really have a chance, either because I unintentionally killed them or bought the seed late (because the seed company I originally bought them from never sent them) and planted out too late are ground cherry, rhubarb, yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, loofah, fennel, lavender, and beets. These will be top priority to research and buy seed this winter, so I give them a fair chance to be in my garden hopefully every year.
The things I will never have to replant as long as I take care of them are golden raspberries, black berries, asparagus, garlic, shallots, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, chocolate mint, and spearmint.
The compost that was started last year is finally a wonderful rich black soil, so we are planning on tilling it in the soil before winter and then our current compost pile will take a year rest as soon as all the fall leaves are put on top of it.
Yes, it is a lot of work to have a garden, but you know exactly what went in to it, unlike buying produce at the grocer.
Check out my current garden and compost pictures.