The Garden Abandoned

When we came back from vacation, the gardens were a royal mess of weeds. Luckily, the work I had done earlier in the year, cardboarding and mulching, meant the weeds were mostly in mulch, not soil and they had not gone to seed. Every single plant was overgrown and leggy and it took two weeks to sort things out.

First on the list -- the fruit trees:

Pruned Apricot Tree at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

This little apricot tree had about 2/3 of it's long stringy branches pruned that were curving down almost to the ground. This task had to be done quickly before threat of frost so that the tree can recover. Typically, I would wait until late winter, but this tree desperately needed air circulation. The goal was an open vase shape, height restricted tree with space to "throw a cat through" a la Lee Reich. The plum tree, cherry trees and mulberry also received this treatment.

Next on the list was a chore that was much more fun - pumpkin hunting!
Jarradale Pumpkins at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

The blue pumpkins ripened first, but we are up to about 20 homegrown heirloom pumpkins this year with more to come!

Next on my to-do list was to quickly take cuttings before a frost came through and took all of my parent plants. This coleus (lime) is one of my very favorites, so I took around 25-30 cuttings and have them started in pots indoors. I also make a point to bring in a pot or two of fragile plants every day in fall, starting with the succulents and then onto the more hardy pots (like mint!). They all come inside for the winter and get a good de-bugging and haircut.

Lime Coleus Cuttings at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea
Lime Coleus 

I also took some time just to enjoy the plants that survived my 6 week absence and applaud those that took off and thrived. I only lost around 10% of newly planted (2017) plants. The Lady's Mantle settled right in and looks like she will be ready to start multiplying next spring. I don't think there is a prettier plant for capturing rain droplets - like jewels!

Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla Mollis at A Nest for All Seasons Stonecrest Gardens
Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla Mollis

Another surprise -- FIGS!
Fig Tree Zone 6 at A Nest for All Seasons Stonecrest Gardens
Baby FIGS!

I planted two fig trees late last year and worried about them all winter long, but they have come through like champs in my zone 6 garden. The site is somewhat protected, so the microclimate might be edging towards 7. I did protect them with leaf cover and some old pillows as well. This year, they shot right up in spring and when we came back from vacation there were actual little figs on the branches! I pruned off the smallest, hoping to ripen a few, but we might have wait until next year to actually EAT figs :)

Hyacinth Bean at A Nest for All Seasons Stonecrest Gardens

All of the vines went crazy in a good way while we were gone. The pumpkin and squash vines had grown into the driveway, up and out of the vegetable garden and from spots I had no idea I planted them! The decorative morning glories, painted lady beans and hyacinth bean (pictured) nicely twined up their ladders or trellising and I came home to beautiful flowers. I plan to collect seed and grow the hyacinth bean (and pumpkins!) again, but I will probably try another bean. The painted lady did well, but wasn't quite showy or tasty enough for me. We bought a purple Thai long bean seed to try next!

Supersweet 100 Tomato at A Nest for All Seasons Stonecrest Gardens

I had an abundance of produce coming in after 6 weeks of abandonment including large amounts of tomatoes (post coming soon on my favorites and recommendations for next year!), some peppers, plenty of herbs and even some carrots that made it through the hot of the season. Two giant cucumbers and zucchini finished off those vines and they are no longer putting out any good baby fruits, but the watermelon plant produced two nice-sized watermelons. My first EVER success with watermelon!!

This week, I am card boarding, composting and mulching (always!) parts of the potager to put it to sleep for winter as well as seeding small bits of radish, carrot, cabbage and beet to get a quick harvest before true winter sets in. I grew the carrot, cabbage and beet already - great varieties!  The radish is new to me. If you are interested, here are the particulars:

All Heirloom Seeds from Baker's Creek - linked to their website

Happy Autumn Growing and Harvest!

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