Heather here.

Fall gardening. You seed crops in flats mid-June. You begin planting mid-July, and can plant through mid-November. Of course, this all depends on the weather. Also, it’s a whole different ball game if you have a high tunnel/greenhouse/cold frame and so on. And, of course, I’m talking about gardening in Southwest Virginia. I have no idea what they do up in South Dakota.

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I’ve been conducting garden visits and the two ladies in pink and blue are cousins and each have a garden at their houses. This day I visited the lady in blue’s garden. They both have grown up on a farm and gardened their whole lives. They both took the classes to “see if we could learn something new”

July 15th housed our fall crops and crop rotation class, part 1. We distributed:

starts of rutabaga, kohlrabi, toscano kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbagge

seeds of green arrow shell pea and sugar ann snap pea

We took a walk around the garden to see crop rotation in action–my garden is divided roughly into 8 blocks that rotate throughout the seasons. I took folks to the former Spring brassicaceae (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga, turnip) bed that is now planted in lettuce, and explained how the former garlic bed will now house fall brassicaceae

We approached the onion bed, where some of the onion tops have already fallen over and papery protective skins are forming. I must say I am proud of the onions. Started from seed in January, planted outside mid-March, and now soft-ball size bulbs resting above the soil in mid-July.

The rain was a huge factor in their size most likely as well, right up there with the loving care. Or maybe higher.

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Allium power

Deni spoke on how you can push your onion top over to get it to start forming papers, how to cure and store your onions, and how long they will last in storage.

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learning to store onions

A certain corner of our garden has some rather chunked-up soggy soil. We believe this to be due to the fact that it had a too-heavy cover on it all winter of leaves and straw, that just matted down, rotted, and kept the soil a wet mess. It was worsened by all the wet Spring weather we  had and our final decision to till when it was semi-wet. We thought a cover crop of buckwheat might help, and showed folks our cover and talked more about the dangers of tilling to soon. Cover crops will be the focus at our next class.


We will also give out more fall seeds that do better when planted a little later in summer, such as carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips, turnips, spinach, mache, and other lettuces. We talked about corn harvest, tomato maintenance, and checked in with each other on pest issues  and questions.

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Hard to think of seeding carrots again when we are just unearthing these gems. In reality though, it makes perfect sense–more planting, more food!


The main flush of Spring-planted garden crops is still growing and many have not harvested from them yet. Especially in the case of tomatoes–those are just starting to come in. It seems the Spring broccoli just left the ground so it’s hard to get in the mindset of fall.


To the never-ending, ever-growing of it all.

Below our some photos of our gardeners using the program’s booth to sell their excess produce at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market:


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These girls sell garden produce with their father at market. Hard to see in the picture but their station wagon is filled to the brim with kale, chard, onions, cabbage, and squash.

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Kat is growing about an acre of vegetables and is selling a lot at the market