Finally….finally…I pulled up all the old, half-dead, withering tomato plants from my small garden. Here in south Louisiana, it’s past time to start a fall garden. My compost heap is overflowing with a generous neighbor’s garden discards, along with my own, the nighttime lows are finally below 75 degrees, and the fall figs are ripening on my ‘LSU Purple’ fig tree.
So what did I put in the ground after TS Irene’s rains finally ceased? Don’t laugh: I sowed much of the same stuff I planted in early spring (minus the tomatoes). See, our warm, early fall weather means that purple hull peas, arugula, cucumbers, and broccoli rabe will do just fine until the weather cools. Also, it’s still too warm to set out transplants of our cool-weather favorites like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages: sure, some gardeners do it, but I’ve had broccoli bolt and never form a head when the heat of summer lingers into November. (And we know that’s not an uncommon event.)
I should be picking peas after Halloween, and I’m hoping this week’s rains stimulate my cilantro seeds to germinate. (It’s a winter herb in my garden.) I’v allowed the last of summer’s basil to set seed, but I’ve already seen new baby basil plants popping up, showing their two-leaf faces to the sun. The mint, sunburned by July and August, is perking up and the rosemary has gone from yellow-brown back to piney green.
While eggplants and okra still fill the farmer’s markets, they’ll only be around for a few weeks more, so enjoy them while they last….