It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Fall: State of the Garden 9-9-12

September gardens aren’t as promising as June gardens or as productive as August gardens, but they do have an appeal all their own. Many flowers have gone past, their buds turning to seed. Some dieback has lead to open spaces and a more manageable plot. Each flower is appreciated a little bit more deeply than the previous because you know that next month at this time they’ll be just a summer memory. My garden, too, has seen it’s prime for the year, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still enjoying being out there. Here’s what it looks like as of yesterday:

Pretty sparse, eh? I’ve cut back everything in the raised bed save for the artichokes and peppers. In their place I’ve sown cold season crops like kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts, but to be honest I can’t find my plot map for the life of me, so we’ll just see how everything turns out! Some hungry bugs have demolished quite a bit of the leaves, but I haven’t caught the culprit yet. Hopefully the seedlings can keep going and produce at least a little bit of fall harvest. The peppers are the lone producer left in the garden and they are still churning out lots of good stuff.

I made a stir fry with those yesterday! The artichokes are still chugging along, and though they won’t produce this year, I think I may try my hand at overwintering them since they are such reliable second year producers.

The other thing still thriving on that side of the yard is the avocado tree. I first introduced you to this plant way back in the winter while it was in the house:

Now look at it! Ahhh!! Where am I going to put this thing??

Another plant I’m going to have to move furniture to accommodate is this guy: the money tree. He also was debuted on the blog in the cold months:

Now look at him! Wow, it’s going to get interesting finding a place for these.

On the other side of the yard, in front of the porch, there’s still plenty of greenery.

The sunflowers have mostly gone past, but this guy still has some color:

And the asters are popping right now. How gorgeous is this one?

With the sun setting earlier and the nights getting nippier, I know it’s only a matter or time before we put up the cornstalks. I kinda can’t wait for all the fun fall decorating, but at the same time I’m still trying to savor the last drops of summer’s warmth and enjoy the garden.

What does your garden grow?

It’s only January, and already I’m thinking of gardening. I’ve been working lots of hours in my windowless office lately, and, well, Mama thinks it’s time for some vitamin D on her skin and dirt under her nails. It’s not so much that I want winter to be over (I could definitely use another cozy snow storm), but the need to get my hands in the soil is starting to nag at me, just as it usually does this time of year. This is why I love the seasons, just as I get tired of one, another totally different and equally exciting one comes along with its wonderful smells, lighting, and weather.

Back to gardening. I love it. I’m the kind of girl that plans for last frost and starts seeds accordingly. I’m the kind of girl with grow lights and heat mats. I’m the kind of girl that maps sun movement. There was a quote in the back of an issue of Mother Earth News once, “Gardening is a journey, not a destination” and boy, it couldn’t be more true. I am on the gardening train. Choo! Choo! (Sorry, had to!) Here is the first garden Mike and I put in the ground together. It was at his parent’s house on Cape Cod where we lived one summer. Who are those children??

And here is the raised bed at Folksy Home in all it’s height-of-summer glory:

So because gardening is something I love,  and because I happen to know the difference between a brassica and a cucurbit,  we’re gonna be seeing some gardening posts on this little blog. I have a raised bed in the yard (see pic above :) ), and containers scattered around outside, but today, I’m going to introduce you to my winter friends. (Mike actually calls it, ‘playing with my friends’ when I go out to garden in the summer. He’s a funny guy, that husband of mine.) These are the indoor plants that keep my gardening bug sated through all the weather winter brings.

I don’t have tons of indoor plants, mostly because I don’t have the space. (What I wouldn’t do to have a greenhouse!) Surprisingly, though I kill plenty of plants during the growing season (I told you it was a journey!), I have relatively good luck with indoor plants. The trick here is, basically, DO NOT WATER. I mean it. Some of my plants have not been watered since bringing them inside in early October. Seriously. And they’re still doing fine.

OK, so here is my oldest and dearest indoor plant.

This is an avocado that happened to sprout in our worm composter back at our apartment in New England. Yep, this guy has been going since 2009! I’ve transplanted it to a few larger pots and it’s still going. I know that it will never produce fruit, but it’s fun to keep around. Mike has said of this plant, “I would be devastated if the avocado ever died.” Yeah, so I’m desperately trying not to kill it. My basic plan for this guy is water when it looks droopy. During the winter, that’s like a pint glass every week or so.

This guy is a money tree. Both this and the avocado live in the kitchen in the winter because that’s where it’s sunniest. He chills with even less watering than the avocado, maybe a pint glass every two weeks? I try to keep them as dormant as possible so they don’t fight to grow in adverse conditions (i.e. a cold an dry kitchen). Funny story about this plant, which I’ve had since 2007: my cat once ate every single leaf off of this plant except 4. 4! And it came back. And now it’s about 3x as big as it was back then. Money tree for the win.

To the right of the money tree is a peace lily given to me by my sister-in-law when she was moving. He got hit with quite the slug problem this summer, and is still fighting to come back. Even less watering for him than the above two. Though after seeing this photo I brought that drooper into the sink for a little drink.

Moving out of the kitchen, and into the bedroom, I have a jade plant on the rope shelves. No water since October!

And a pothos cutting keeping fishy company. (Obviously no need for water. Or soil, for that matter!)

The last little grouping of plants is a stash of succulents that live in the bathroom on the seedling shelf.

I started with a few individual plants (bought at the Philly Flower Show, whoop whoop!!) and then found out propagation was beyond simple and began experimenting last summer. I haven’t really attended to them much because, well, winter isn’t an ideal time to start new plants, but they’re still goin’!

Hopefully when it warms up they’ll spring back to life. We’ll have to wait and see! No water for these guys, I think they get enough from the shower moisture to tide them over.

So there is the starting line of the indoor brigade. I do have some poinsettias and a few paperwhite bulbs going,

but they’re ephemeral and don’t last season to season.

What kind of plants do you have inside for the winter?