I love the transitions to a new season and this year has been another exceptional year for the vegetable garden. Now that the last picking of pole beans has happened, the garlic is drying in a dark location along with the lavender, thyme and sage and the indeterminate tomatoes continue to flourish, it is an appropriate time to reflect what went right and how do I want to proceed with fall maintenance and planting for an extended crop.
I’ll let you in on a little gardener’s secret: late summer through early autumn is the perfect time for many kinds of garden projects, including incorporating edibles into the landscape. We are so lucky in the Pacific Northwest to be able to grow veggies nearly year-round. There are a wide variety of cool-season veggies for autumn and early-spring harvest and now is the best time to plant perennial edibles like berries as well.
With the advent of September and autumn, the cooler nights are a time to give yourself a brief respite after the summer and refresh your vegetable garden with a cover crop. Cover crops, also called green manure, are very beneficial to the "tilth" (structure, or physical suitability for planting) of your soil. Sown in the fall, usually late September, cover crops will enhance soil over the winter. They attract pollinating insects, break up heavy soil, add organic material and decrease the number of weeds.