Fall Garden Prep: Summer Garden Harvest and Maintenance

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.

Alabama Black-eyed Butter Beans
Alabama Black-eyed Butter Beans
Alabama Black-eyed Butter 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.

Butternut Squash

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!

Urizun Japanese Winged Bean

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!

Little Thin Red Cayenne

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.

Winter Squash and Pumpkin

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!

Buena Mulata Peppers
Great Harvest

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.

Mini Blue Popcorn

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!
Colorful Zinnias

The Harvest really looks great, especially with all the contrasting colors!

The Harvest
The Harvest

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.

Pulling a Volunteer Okra

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.

Pulling Tomatoe Plants

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!!

Pulling Luffa Gourd Plant

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.

Watermelon and Sweet Potato Plants

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.

Squash Vine Borer in Watermelon Vine

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.

Staking up 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.)

Staking up Peppers

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!!

Garden Looking Good

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:

Amend the Soil
Amend the Soil
Amend the Soil

Now I’m adding in some composted cow manure.

Amend the Soil

Now it’s time to un-clump and spread the nutrients around..

Amend the Soil

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.

Weeding and Placing Pine Straw
Weeding and Placing Pine Straw
Weeding and Placing Pine Straw

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!!

Published by D Ferguson

Just a simple man doing my thing living the simple life in Louisiana.

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