Now is the time to start preparing for our Fall garden by harvesting our Summer crops and performing some maintenance activities. My backyard organic raised bed garden has been quite productive thus far. However, my tomatoes are played-out. Now is the time to prepare for the Fall.
We need to:
- Harvest fresh from the garden
- Pull old non-producing plants out
- Stake up the peppers
- Amend the beds
- Weed and put some pine-straw mulch down
You can see all of this in this video:
Harvest Fresh from the Garden
The first step in getting our garden ready for planting some Fall vegetables is to harvest what I’ve got available in the backyard organic raised bed garden.
First off, I need to pick all of my Alabama Black-eyed Butter Beans. I sowed 5 or 6 plants and have a pretty good harvest of beans.
Next up, I went ahead and harvested a full-sized Butternut Squash along with 3 smaller ones. I’m going to make a soup and roast some. The Butternut Squash is a good squash to work hard against the Squash Vine Borer.
This is the Urizun Japanese Winged Bean and is a pretty cool looking specimen. I only have 2 as the plants where somewhat smothered. Nevertheless, growing something new in my garden is a lot of the fun!
These are little thin red cayenne peppers. I use these to make a fermented Louisiana Hot Sauce which I use throughout the year and give a few away to friends and family. They are so easy to grow!
I got a huge surprise as I haven’t been able to go in the garden as much as usual. Rain in the Summer in southeast Louisiana usually hit you in the afternoon and evening so it’s been storming a good bit over the last few weeks. These just appeared. One is a Winter Squash, which I’m going to have to lookup the name as I don’t remember. The one on the right is a Dicksonson pumpkin. I’ve already harvested 3 of these so they are growing well here.
It is the first year I’ve planted the Buena Mulata pepper which I will definitely grow going foward. They aren’t too hot but still have some kick. Looks like salsa or hot sauce for them!
I planted some mini blue popcorn. There’s not much to harvest but looks pretty cool. I might just save these for Halloween decorations but not sure. Anyhow, they do look good.
I always plant Zinnias, Marigolds, and other flowers interspersed through the raise garden beds. I do this for 4 main reasons:
- Attract bees and other pollinators
- Repel bad pests
- Harvest flowers for my Wife
- Just plain looks great in my backyard!
The Harvest really looks great, especially with all the contrasting colors!
Pull old non-producing plants out
I pulled all of my tomato plants as they just were not producing. Below, I had to pull a volunteer okra. This okra was to my surprise as I had never planted an okra plant there so how it got there, I don’t know.
Next up, I pull 100% of my tomatoes. This was a lot of work but well worth the effort. They just were not producing anymore.
I also found a volunteer Luffa gourd that grew a raised beds away from where I had sowed it last year. The Luffa gourd vines really grow like crazy!!
I then had to take on the watermelon vine that was growing like crazy but had recently been hit by the squash vine borer. I hate these things!! I did go ahead and strip away all of that vine.
This is an example below of a big, fat squash vine borer grub that caused so much damage to my squash plants. They really didn’t bother me until the last 2 or 3 years. Check out my video on how to defend against the squash vine borer at https://youtu.be/cCCC-qLrAIk.
Stake up the Peppers
Now that the tomatoes are gone, I am going to stake up all the peppers as the tomatoes and tomato cages were holding up most of the peppers.
I use a velcro type material cut in strips to secure my peppers “loosely” to the stake. It really work pretty well. You can get that from Amazon @ https://amzn.to/3Aa74lQ (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Just click on the link and start your shopping. There’s never an additional charge.)
The garden overall is looking good now that I’ve cleaned out all of the non-producing plants. Plus, the American Flag just looks great!!
Amend the Soil
The next maintenance step to get the soil ready for the Fall plants. That means, we need to amend the soil. Soil is the most absolute critical element in a robust raised bed garden.
My go-to soil mix is the following: 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite (or perlite), and 1/3 a blend of 3 – 5 composts. In my area, I have good access to composted cow manure, chicken manure, mushroom compost, and my own compost. I also add some Azomite rock dust for micro-nutrients. That’s what I always do to start a bed. I also try to use this annually as well. However, when amending a bed, at a minimum add some compost. Hopefully, at least 2 or more types. If you didn’t start your bed like my suggestions above, it’s okay, but over time, if you at least add the compost, the compost and some Azomite rock dust, it will start paying off from a nutrient standpoint. The sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite adds the structural elements you need so the soil, over time, will become friable and turn into the best soil you could possibly want. You can check out https://youtu.be/lKzWZRA2tqk which covers amending soil.
Here I am adding in some composted chicken manure:
Now I’m adding in some composted cow manure.
Now it’s time to un-clump and spread the nutrients around..
Weed and put some pine-straw mulch down
Weed-free, and somewhat mud-free, walkways is important. I control the weeks and the mud somewhat by placing down a thick pine straw mulch in my walkways.
Thanks for checking out my fun time getting my Summer garden ready for the Fall plants. Please check out my Fall Garden playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuYldul1VnGlR416yLZm3nIoowg15lWVt.
Thanks for coming to Louisiana Simple Living.com!!