It’s the celebration of the fall equinox! You know, the time of year when the sun shines right on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal. But it’s also the time of year for fall planting and planning. So go ahead and harvest. Then remove your summer plants–or whats left of them, add the discarded plant material to your compost pile, and begin the fall planting process.
Now that the air is becoming more crisp, it’s time to pick up your organic, GMO free, cooler weather crops–such as kale and cabbage–and get them in the ground. Don’t forget to plant your spinach, carrot, radish, lettuce and beet seeds as well.
September is also the best time for seed saving. We are in the process of saving seeds for a variety of sunflowers and okra. I am especially excited about saving sunflower seeds which we will use next year for our flower business. Okra was such a big vegetable hit this season—fast growing, heart healthy and full of fiber and vitamins—that saving seeds for next year is a no-brainer. To begin the seed saving process you must first select a few of the best flowers or vegetables. Next, you will need to lay them out on paper to dry for a week or so. We dry ours in the greenhouse funded by Grow Appalachia a few years ago. After seven days or so, collect the seeds and tuck them into a properly-labeled envelop. I recommend including the name of the seed, planting details and the date the seeds were collected. Saving seeds not only helps save money but it often results in producing healthier plants the following year. Most importantly, you’ll have the seeds you need and want on hand when it comes time to plant them again. It’s not to late to begin saving seeds. Try it out and have fun!
September is also the month when fall-related chores need to be completed. This past weekend, for example, we were busy tending to and laying down compost, pulling weeds, planting spring bulbs–like garlic and tulips and cutting back perennials. We made good use of our season-extension tools and materials. Gardener Chris was also busy this past weekend cutting the grass and harvesting his first crop of hops! To answer the question I’m sure you’re all asking, we are growing hops because our garden is located in the middle of the historic over-the-Rhine brewery district in Cincinnati. Chris thought this would be the perfect location to try growing hops in the hopes of someday producing a single hop Best Bitter English Ale. I’d have to agree!
Finally, September marked the gathering of all the neighborhood-garden coordinators in Cincinnati to celebrate the fall equinox at The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s event entitled, Flavors of Community Gardens. We savored the flavors of home grown produce with a fantastic potluck dinner featuring fresh smoothies, pawpaw salsa and peach crisp, to name a few. I also enjoyed sampling a variety of pickles one gardener is selling at a nearby college to students and nearby neighbors. Enjoy a few photos from the night!
Thanks to all of you for coming back to read about our latest garden adventures. Stay tuned for our next blog in October where we’ll talk about putting the garden to bed for the winter.
Peace, Love, Gardens & Flowers,
Christina, Garden Coordinator for Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden