Vegetable gardening newsletter #24

Hello, Happy Thanksgiving! What a blessing this long stretch of gorgeous weather is. If you were lucky enough to have seedlings that survived the initial attacks from slugs and other pests, these beautiful sunny days are great for maturing leafy-greens and root-vegetables and for ripening up any almost-ready tomatoes. We have about 3 or 4 weeks left to the season. Once your lettuce gets big enough (6 – 8″) you can harvest the outer leaves. My favourite salad at this time of year is slices of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, mixed lettuce leaves, shredded chard and kale, with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious! At this time of year you may notice a big difference in the amount of sun your garden gets. As the summer wanes, and the days get shorter, the sun also sits a lot lower in the sky. Since we are in the city and surrounded by buildings and tall trees. A garden that has lots of sun earlier in the season may get almost none at this time of year depending on the surrounding skyline. If you have radishes, carrots or anything else planted from seed, it is important that you “thin” the seedlings. This means that you choose the strongest seedling in any given 3 or so inches and remove all the rest. This will allow the remaining seedling to grow more fully. Make sure you snip these seedlings with scissors so you don’t disturb the roots of your remaining plant. You can add any seedlings you remove from the garden to your salad. They are very tasty and nutritious! This year was the first time we added a fall replant to the gardens. I realize now that we planted two or 3 weeks too late. Next year we will switch to pole beans which will climb the trellis and take the zucchini out of the garden. This will give us the space and flexibility to do a fall planting in mid-August instead and allow the seedlings to grow faster before the days get too short. Also I was really surprised at how aggressive the slugs and other pests were at eating the tender young seedlings. Next year we will be much more proactive in protecting the seedlings with floating row-covers right away and treating all the gardens with DE (diatomaceous earth) at the time of the fall replant. I am sad that the fall planting did not work out for many of you, and sorry for any disappointment this must have caused. We are constantly learning and evolving to make your gardens as beautiful, productive and easy to maintain as possible. Best, Tereska Gesing

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