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Your Kentucky garden in the fall

Bridget Aubrey

Your Kentucky garden in the fall.
September will find our gardens here full and lush with green, blooms, all kinds of peppers, tomatoes, even cucumbers, squash and okra are going strong.
The weather will be still warm. Our fall plantings of lettuce, broccoli, kale, green onions, spinach, cauliflower and green beans are doing great. They were planted in early August, the official best planting time being considered the 10th of August.
We all know that the heat can still get to you in early September. At least the nights have started to cool off, and that is a welcome relief. Still we can get pretty hot digging, weeding and picking our harvest. That is a price we gladly pay in order to harvest our own produce.
Luckily here in Kentucky we can enjoy two garden seasons.
Putting in that second planting is still worth the trouble. You can keep most of it until we have a killing frost, and then you will still have your onions, kale, broccoli, collards, turnips and mustard greens. Rake some leaves around them, or mulch, and it will be fine until we have a deep freeze.
When a hard frost is predicted, I go and pick all the tomatoes off, even the smaller green ones. I lay them on paper, turn them once in a while, and I usually have my own tomatoes until Christmas.
Some hardly souls go out into the garden as soon as fall arrives, and proceed to rip everything out . Oh, those poor plants? They call themselves cleaning it up and getting ready for the spring planting. The ground is left bare, an empty space sitting there, waiting for better times to come. They even cart off all the refuse out into the garbage to be hauled off into the landfill. Please don?t do that to our earth! We cannot just take, take and never give anything back. I am not talking about chemical fertilizer here. Put all those dead vines, stalks and leaves into the compost pile! Spread it over your garden, whenever it is decomposed, and let the earth have it back. Till it in so it can break down more. This is natural, cheap, and easy to do. It will save you from piling it up in your garbage, and paying extra for pick-up of yard and garden materials.
In the kitchen, it is just as easy to put all your scraps of vegetables, peelings, and too soft fruits into a small plastic container with a lid, then take it once a day to your compost pile.
Your garbage will never smell bad, waiting for its once a week pick-up service! Meat, of course, does NOT belong into this. That is never a problem here. Our Dogs make great left-over disposals.
When that killing frost arrives, it is so hard to watch all your
much cared-for plants die. It seems they came back from the heat and are now doing so good.
I pick all the peppers, and string up the hot ones. They look so pretty hanging in the kitchen, waiting to go into a good pot of chili. Once I crushed a couple of hot peppers with my fingers into the pot, then rubbed BOTH my eyes. They were itching?but not for long! It burned so much that it took my breath away! I flushed them out with water for the longest time, and couldn?t see right for a while. I learned a lesson there.


This is the time to harvest, pickle, can and freeze your garden goodies. It feels so good to be able to do this!
We dig in old cook books, talk recipe exchange with friends and try a few new ones out. The pear preserves came out so good this year! I find making jams and jellies one of the most satisfying experiences. They look so good, once we glue a pretty label on and line them on the shelves. Here is an instant little present any time you need one. Add a ribbon around the top, and its ready to go. Same goes for the homemade sweet pickles, dills, apple sauce from those windfall apples you gathered..
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