When did it become fall?

I was ushered inside by the impending rainstorm. After a summer without rain, we're getting plenty now in the fall.

I feel as if I lost the entire month of September, and now October is halfway gone. I've been working so much that the garden has been neglected, and it's been taking a lot of work to clean it up. The vole assault continues, but today I found the hole by the hydrangea (by the shed) that they were attacking so there days are numbered (hopefully).  I also learned that hellebores are poisonous to voles, so I ordered 14 plants from Sunshine Farm and Gardens down in West Virginia. I planted them around the plants I'd like to protect. I hope it works!

We had our first frost two days ago- a day into the frost warning period! Today the temperatures are back up in the 70s and I was able to plant 31 cloves of garlic and transplant my einset grape to the arbor along the driveway. I still have garlic cloves to plant, so I'm debating where they should go. As I clean up the garden beds for winter, I've put a layer of straw mulch on top to protect the soil.

In good news, a week ago I harvested my sweet potatoes out of the grow bags from Gardener's Supply. They grew well, and I'm currently curing them. While cleaning up the beds though, I had to pull out so many strawberries that had spread and multiplied all summer long. I felt so guilty ripping them out, but they were at the point of being invasive (they were the Seascape variety). I kept some in pots, gave two away to the neighbor, but the rest landed in the compost. (I wince now thinking of how many I threw away. I hope I don't regret this decision.

I've grown to appreciate marigolds again... for a while I disregarded them since they were so ordinary, but they have been growing so well amongst the vegetables that I think I will plant them all along the driveway next year for constant color.

So while I'm beginning to make notes of what I'd like for next year's garden, I looked up to see how I was doing on this past year's garden planning list.

To recap (Original text in black; today's comments in red):
1. Cut down on the tomatoes! There is way too much space devoted to growing them, and the yields have been hit and miss over the past two years.   Hmm...should have paid more attention to this!
2. Impatiens along the garage in pots worked really well. So did growing them by seed. It's really too bad that this year the impatiens were struck by the mildew and I may not be able to grow them next year. I've been pretty happy with the new guinea impatiens though.3. Sweet allysum works well grown from seed, and in pots. Try to incorporate more plants into the garden where the spring bulbs are blooming. Not a good year for this plant in pots. Forgot to plant in beds.
4. Get the proper equipment to grow pole beans. Maybe skip bush beans? Used an arbor this year instead, but will have to rotate crops next year so the pole beans will need their own structure. I did end up growing bush beans.5. Eggplant need more sun- perhaps grow them in a bed on the front lawn? Back on the list for next year.
6. Try to grow pumpkins along the border with my neighbor, in front of the lilacs. I tried watermelons but was not good about watering them, so they died.
7. A book I'm reading now, called "Slow Gardening," suggested (tongue in cheek) to grow a living fence of corn between neighbors. Hmmm.... Not were I intended to grow it then... maybe along driveway next year.
8. Try to grow more zinnias around the back patio. Zinnias from seed planted in the ground did not do well. I ended up having to buy plants from the nursery.9. Start cosmos seeds directly in ground. (They get too leggy when I start them inside and try to transfer out.) I did this, and they never grew! They look the same as they did in May. Lack of sun?
10. The lettuce bed with carrots worked really well! (And I'm still harvesting lettuce and parsley today, without the aid of a floating row cover or cold frame! Wow!) Did this again this year.
11. Get more hellebores. Just fulfilled that today.
12. Create pots out front like window boxes we photographed in Vermont. I did a version of it, but not exactly the same.

Which begins my 2013 Gardening List.
- Plant marigolds along the driveway.
- Skip tomatoes? They were such a disappointment except for one week when I had nice juicy ones.
- Plant corn along the driveway? Is this even feasible? :)
- Window boxes like the ones in Wilmington, Vt. (Repeat request from last year.)
- Move vegetable beds to the front lawn so they get more sun.
- Bring back wax begonias and more new guinea impatiens to replace impatiens next year.
- Move tall aster out front - it's too tall for it's spot.
- Provide proper V structure to support raspberries moved to bed along the driveway.

That's all I can think of now, but that's a pretty healthy list for now.

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