From the Farm: September 2017

By Eve Springwood Minson

At long last the sweet corn, peaches and tomatoes are ripening as the days shorten and nights get cooler. Hard to believe summer is ending when it feels like it just started, but it is, after all, the Catskills!
Fortunately you can do one more planting of cool season crops to enjoy over the fall.
It’s time to plant spinach, radishes, beets, kale, lettuce and other veggies you enjoyed in early spring! Clean up spring crops that are no longer producing, reinvigorate soil with compost or aged manure and plant seeds again. You’ll go into fall/winter with yummy greens in your garden and if you cover with a coldframe or a hoop with row cover, a light tissue-like fabric made for preventing light frosts and insects, you will have veggies until early winter.
After your veggie garden is tended to, you can start thinking about what did well this year and what you might need to transplant elsewhere. I already have a long list of plants to move around the garden by mid-September when temperatures cool a bit more. Some of my plants were overwhelmed by neighbors, some color combinations were not to my liking, and others just need to be replanted elsewhere. It’s fun to further tweak what I thought was going to work well in spring.
Another useful task this time of year is to collect seeds from your annuals and perennials. As everything starts to go to seed, save some seed heads and allow them to mature on the plant. When they turn brown and look like they will soon explode, it’s time to cut and put them in a paper bag to fully dry off. You can also save open-pollinated varieties of your veggies, as well. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, all produce copious seeds and as long as they aren’t hybrids you can save seeds for years to come.
It’s also time to harvest herbs for drying if you haven’t done it earlier, get your last canning tasks done and give your garden a once over cleanup.
Enjoy these last golden days of summer!