OUTSIDE: Fall

Late Season Annual Veggies

 

 

 

To make the most of your growing season, sew a few fall crop veggies (see sketch at left for some ideas on what thrives in the cooler temps).

 

Check the seed packets for days til harvest, count back from your first frost date, and plant.

It will still be hot when you sew the seeds, but when the temperatures start to drop, you'll have some great, fresh veggies, perfect for roasting.

Raked vs. Unraked

Raked

Raking up leaves keeps things looking tidier and leaves less work for the spring. It also mitigates chance of harmful plant diseases from popping up the next growing season.

 

However, raking up means your yard will miss a blanket of natural protection from winter temps and a wave of natural fertilizer for the next growing season. There's always a trade-off.

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Unraked

Leaving fall leaves can provide a beneficial, 100% natural mulch (think forest floor) that will later compost itself into a rich humus and release nutrients to your yard. Freezing and thawing over the course of winter helps speed the decomposition process along.

 

However, there is the possibility that the remaining leaves can harbor more than just beneficial microbes, and if any leaves are infected, they can pass along disease in the spring when temps warm.

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FALL FRUITS

One of the best outdoor fall activities is picking your own pumpkins and apples.

 

Picking out the right pumpkin is paramount. You spend so much time perusing through hundreds of pumpkins to get it. There are so many variations in color, size, weight, texture to choose from, and then there it is, whether it's still on the vine, or neatly laid out in bunches on pallets.

There are the classic, round orange pumpkins, which you can carve and bake the seeds to eat later; the fancy blush pink or blue Cinderella pumpkins, which make beautiful centerpieces (and later meals: peeled, seeded, cubed); and the teensy little star-shaped, long-necked, knobby concoctions that make fun tablescapes en masse.

Our favorite place to pick pumpkins (and apples in the same trip) is Hollin Farms in Northern Virginia, just over an hour outside of D.C. We plan our trip carefully, figuring out how much money we want to spend on pumpkins (and then I always go and add a few tiny gourds on at the end...) and pecks of apples, as well as what we plan on doing with our freshly picked treasures.

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