As the sun rose through the trees during this crisp, fall morning, the light illuminated my breath, a sure sign the summer season was officially over.
Even though frost has not blanketed my garden yet, theses temperatures will alter the flavor of the remaining tomatoes and prepare annual flowers for the inevitable.
It's easy to kick back and let the garden fade away, but fall is the time for gardeners to start planting again and preparing for next season.
In the vegetable garden, cool weather crops replace fading beans and vine crops. Nurseries will offer lettuce, arugula, spinach, mustard, kale, collards and other plants which thrive in the cold. They don't care about frost, in fact some of those plants taste better after they get zapped.
As the warm weather crops diminish, others are added. They don't need any protection yet, but eventually will be covered with floating row covers. These spun bound, translucent fabric acts as a greenhouse. If all goes well, these plants will be harvested all winter and many will survive until spring.
The plants that do will be ready early and can be harvested often.
The soil is always improved with compost or well aged animal manures. Once the plants are in the ground a good layer of straw mulch will help keep the soil evenly moist. Watering is important this time of the year, October can be a dry month.
The plants will be ready for the kitchen in just a few weeks and can keep the gardener going as the fall becomes winter.
This is just the beginning of our fall chores, trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and more need to be put in the ground.
What's added in the next few weeks will make a big difference in next season's garden.