September is now over! Fall has begun and my garden continues to change. For starters my tomatoes have completely taken over! They seem to get bigger every day. I try to prune them once every other week to control disease and try to get better airflow and within a week they’ve completely regrown. I’ll probably have to start pruning once a week just so that I can get access to my whole garden. As it stands I can only access about half of my garden, because the growth is so dense.
As you can see it is just a jungle of tomato plants. While I know that had I thinned the plants earlier in the season I likely could’ve avoided at least some of this intense growth, I also really need a better support system for my tomatoes. I tried using branches as something to tether my tomatoes to as they grew. That worked while they were small, but, because we get so much rain here in Delaware, they have far outgrown those supports.
I think next year (if I’m here to grow) I’ll try setting up a lattice of sorts at the beginning of the season and just allow them to grow on that the entire season.
This month was a nice one, because I had some really awesome little friends stay in my garden. I have an herb garden in a raised bed and in it I grow parsley. This month my parsley plants hosted about a dozen parsley worms.
Parsley worms are swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. I personally love them, not only because they’re cute, but because they make excellent pollinators once they become butterflies.
Parsley worms also feed on fennel. If you grow either and live in the Mid-Atlantic region you’ll likely find some feeding on your herbs during August and September. They start out orange and black with a white spot on their backs before growing bigger and developing stripes (like in the photo above.) As they get bigger their orange stripes turn yellow. Before they move on to the chrysalis stage they will be almost entirely green and yellow.
This month the weather really threw me a curveball. Not only was it super rainy, but the temperatures fluctuated much more than they usually do. In mid-September we had several nights in the forties! The cold came a month early and it slowed my tomatoes way down.
It was cool enough to completely halt my tomatoes’ ripening process. I went over a week with no ripe tomatoes to bring in. That was quite the test of my patience. It was comforting to have my mom here with me on the property, because I didn’t have to garden through the bad weather alone.
The cold hit her garden hard too. She had a CSA week where she barely had anything simply because the cold just stopped everything producing!
My cabbages are still continuing to grow, even through the cold and wet weather. They’ve reached the point where they start to form their heads. Thankfully, we’ve reached the point of the year when the pests start to go dormant and I don’t have to worry so much that my cabbages will be devoured by beetles.
While my cabbage has passed the threat of pests, I can’t say the same about my tomatoes. Aphids are attacking about a quarter of my tomatoes pretty bad right now. They have just covered the blossom stems.
In addition I’ve started to get whiteflies on my tomatoes. This is the first time I’ve encountered them on my parents’ property. It’s not exciting that I now have another pest I have to tackle, but I’ll push through and continue to take care of my garden as I always do.
However, despite everything fall has begun and my garden keeps going. Now that things have warmed back up a little my tomatoes have gone back to producing and I couldn’t be happier. I love getting to eat fresh tomatoes from my garden, as well as store some for making sauce next month.
In closing, I’m so glad we’re on this journey together. Y’all really help me have the motivation to continue on. I really enjoy these updates, because I get to look back on all that’s happened in the past month. I know frost is fast approaching so October may be the last of these for 2020, but I hope you stick around and read more of my posts!
Feel free to comment any posts you’d like to see this fall and winter once the growing season has ended!
Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog! Whether you stay a day, a week, a month, or a year I appreciate you. -Kate