Here at Grow Oak Ridge, we are starting to plan for our cool season gardens. We are continuing to welcome the harvest, especially tomatoes! I have loved seeing our gardeners find and use techniques. At my last garden visit, one of our gardeners is doing an upright trellis for their tomato plants where they built a tall structure and wrapped tomato twine around the stem of the plant, leading it upright. This method and the Florida Weave have definitely been my favorite methods to see for trellising. The upright trellis has allowed one of their tomato plants to grow at least 8 feet tall and for all of them receive a lot of airflow.
At our last workshop of the season (besides our Potluck), we talked about Season Extension and Fall Gardening. We had two guests from the Master Gardener program stop by and share their experiences with growing and cool season gardening. I think people are excited to try out cool season gardening. The timing of it all presents a challenge as far as when and what to season extend and where to plant, but we are definitely embracing it. During our latest garden visits, our gardeners are showing up with their fall garden map, planning out what they want to extend, where they can start their cool season seeds, and where they can plant cover crops. For cover crops this year, we are doing a mix of tillage radish (to break up Oak Ridge’s notoriously heavy clay soil), winter rye (to create a natural mulch and increase biomass), crimson clover, & hairy vetch (to add nitrogen back into the soil). Cover cropping is probably one of my favorite topics as I love learning about and teaching ways to improve soil health.