Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Comes to the Garden

Mating walking sticks in the raspberries - sure sign of fall.

While I was out on vacation the equinox passed. Fall came to the garden without me. It was easy to spot up in New Hampshire. When we showed up at the inn there was very little color. By the time we left there were patches of red trees scattered in the forest. On my street not much has turned yet. I am getting a lot of leaves dropping on the lawn from my maple trees, but it is just stress. They have not turned yet. Since they are Norway Maples (sob) they turn late and only turn yellow, not the fiery colors that I love.

The falling leaves make my life harder and easier at the same time. Today I have to mow the lawn so I'll have a lot more trips to the compost pile. There are probably just enough leaves on my lawn to mix with the grass clippings. Composting will be as easy as dumping out the grass catcher and adding water. Usually I have to layer the grass clippings and leaves, making sure that the grass isn't too thick or it will mat down and rot instead of compost.

The back yard is an oak woods. The acorns have been bombing us for a couple of weeks now. I'm so happy to see them. Last year was the weird year without acorns. I was wondering if the acorns would be back this year. They are - with a vengeance.

Sadly the garden is starting to look like fall. The leaves are turning yellow on the cucumbers and beans.

I have large swaths of empty bed. In the foreground the potato bed is waiting for me to double dig it this fall. The middle empty area is where I ripped out most of the squash and beans. A few bean plants still have pods drying on the vine. As soon as the pods are all picked the vines get ripped out and composted. One by one they have disappeared. I still remember the jungle that was. I had to do the limbo to get under some of the beans and tomatoes. I had to hop over all the low lying branches sticking out into the paths. Now the paths are all an easy stroll.

I never know whether to be happy or sad in this season. The garden winds down, but the weather is fabulous. We have had sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s and 70s (15-25C). The weather and the colorful trees makes me want to smile. The fading garden makes me sad. Can a person be happy and wistful at the same time?


  1. I'm wishing for what saddens you. I don't have enough time left to let my garden reach the end of its production, and I hate tearing out healthy productive plants. I'd love to put my beds to winter under a blanket of leaves and compost, but the trees won't begin dropping their leaves until after I'm gone :-(

  2. Great shot of the walking sticks! It is so interesting to me that you are already winding down in the garden, that's still weeks away for me. I'm so grateful that I get to enjoy such a long growing season.

  3. I love fall, because the outdoor temperature is fabulous! Leaves are beginning to fall here, too - which means the "christmas" for us composters is about to begin!

  4. WOW! Mating walking sticks! Sexy!

  5. Fall seems to heat up the garden chores here, actually. Benefit and curse of mild winter.

    Your garden sure looks ready to settle down, though!

  6. I was trying to figure out where the head was in this shot, then saw that it was two and was even more confused! Happy and sad at the same time, of course. Isn't that yin and yang? I was just reading that we should sow green manure cover crops, not leaving bare earth over winter. Do you do that?
    BTW, congrats on your nominations, well deserved! :-)

  7. Daphne, I love the aerial views of your garden. I have to remind myself not to take too many close up pictures as it's nice to see someone's overall garden layout once and a while. I feel your pain regarding your maple. I have a suspicion that the giant one in our backyard may be a Norway as well.

  8. Fall is my favorite. Put those pastels away for gooness sake. Bring out the jewel tones!!!

  9. The happy and wistful is a good way to describe fall feelings. Growth fades away and often looks beautiful in the process.

  10. Well, I'm glad I don't look TOO close in the garden b/c surely I'd freak out if I saw those walking sticks. Amazing photo - and that you picked them out!

    I'd enjoy acorns in my yard. I've perfected making a piercing whistle by blowing in the cap. Unfortunately, all I get are tons and tons of sweet gum gumballs. And the squirrels don't touch them. And the take forever to compost. And the pretty much destroy any fall seedlings trying to make it. And if my kid falls, she'll be cut. And you can actually trip on them if you don't watch where you're going.

  11. The fall garden is an invitation to start dreaming again... changes, additions, and new things to try. The canvaas is being primed for yet another season of growth and promise.

    If you cannot tell, I love the fall almost as much as the spring.

  12. Annie's Granny, so (just to be a trouble maker) why don't you go down later?

    Michelle, I would love a longer growing season. The sun really doesn't hit my garden much at this time of the year. I've got another month of frost free weather, but no sun to grow anything by.

    Engineeredgarden, I love the temps too. I'm much happier when it is in the 60s and 70s than when it is in the 80s and 90s. It is perfect weather for working in the garden. I can't wait for those precious leaves too. I've been shredding newspaper since I didn't collect enough leaves last year. It is not one of my favorite chores and I can quit now. This year I'll have to collect more leaves than last year.

    Lzyjo, yse it was very bad of me to disturb them. I was reaching for that one ripe raspberry when I saw them.

    Stefaneener, part of me is really happy for the winter and the down time in the garden. The rest of me says that 3 months of ice is too much and one would be better.

    Frances, Well the female's head (the bigger stick) is under the raspberry so you can't see it. Last year I put in green manure crops. I've found that if I get them in toward the beginning of September they grow pretty well here (I'm sure the date is later for you). I often will over seed an area that is still growing, but starting to fade in the fall. I didn't get around to it this year, which is really bad of me. I have the seed, but it never got put in. Thanks and congrats on your nominations too. I think you have been nominated for everything.

    Thomas, the funny thing about the maples is that if I had known they were on my property I would have taken them down 18 years ago and replaced them with something else. I was told they were on the towns property (they own about 10' in front of my house). But they surveyed the property recently and I found out I own the trees. Now it is too late. I'm looking to move so the last thing I want to do is cut down trees and lower my property value.

    Ribbit, lol it does have a lot of jewel tones. The sky is even bluer since the humidity has dropped.

    Mary Delle, fall is just one of the prettiest times of the year. But then when the other seasons hit I think that too.

    Wendy, lol they are a bit freaky looking. I think if I had those I'd give them their own pile. Ick.

    kitsapFG, I keep thinking about what I'm going to be doing next year. I change my mind every five minutes. By December I'll have some real plans so I can buy seed.

  13. Well, trouble maker ;-), I do go down much later. BG (before garden) we always left for AZ on the last day of September. Now I have to hog tie Mr' H to the house to make him stay until after our expected freeze and the shut down of the irrigation water on the 15th of October. That's pushing it to get through the mountains before the heavy snowstorms begin, too. We were pretty well certain to miss any bad weather when we left earlier.

  14. I thought falling leaves is the only sure sign of Autumn, huh, now walking sticks are welcoming the arrival of Autumn through mating ecstasy!!.. Cheers, ~bangchik

  15. Yow, who'd have thought the female was so much bigger than the male! At least she won't turn around and eat him like a mantis! Ugh, Norway maples, we have them here as well. But I love those views of your fall garden---they looks great, and you can really see the structure!

  16. Granny, ah it is the roads that you are worried about. I suppose that is a pretty good reason to leave early.

    Bangchik, I rarely see the walking sticks until they start mating in the fall. I'm sure they are there in my brambles since it is one of their preferred food. When they mate they come out near the ripe raspberries.

    our friend Ben, the female is just huge, about four inches long. The male is a little less huge.

  17. I understand exactly your emotion -happy and wistful...I love the coming of the cool weather, the fall veggies (had my first butternut squash last week), but I also miss the long days of summer.

  18. I can understand the happy and wistful, though I also feel lazy about gardening as the temperatures drop and don't mind having to keep up the maintenance. I agree with the commenter about the opportunity to think about what I should do differently next year; now is the time to write that down.