Time for a change

The Labor Day weekend is here and summer comes to an official close tomorrow.  Here in zone 6 we’ll be having a change in the weather-matter of fact, we already have had one.  The nights have a definite chill in the air and the days are not quite so hot.  This is the weekend many people start to pull up their gardens in preparation to shut them down for the remainder of the year.  And if you’re a square foot gardener that’s certainly an option for you too.  For me, it’s time to make a change in my thinking.  We’ll have at least 6 good weeks of mild temperatures before the harder weather comes to town.  We’ve had years in the past where it’s been mild until the second week of December.  Though that’s a bit unusual, we certainly have a good 8 weeks, maybe a little more.  I’ll begin to pull up some things to open up some squares.  I’ll take my scissors and start cutting back the extra leaves on my squash plants.  You’ll want your squash harvested before the first freeze.  We might have a freeze in as little as 2 or 3 weeks from now but then the weather warms up again-the Indian Summer will then have arrived.  So I want to make sure all my squash plants get a chance to fully ripen.  This pictures gives you an idea of what’s been growing in my 1X4′ box-banana squash.  I’ve already pulled 2-9 pounders off the vines and you can see at least 3 still up and growing.  There’s one more growing in the back that you can’t see.  So before I pulled off that 9 pounder, there was at least 35+ pounds of squash being grown vertically on that nylon netting.  You can imagine how strong it must be to do that.  You also might notice some powdery mildew on the leaves.  That happens often with squashes.  I will cut all those leaves off so that everything remaining on the vines can continue finishing to ripen.  I will also start to clear out my flowers to open up some additional squares.  This is the time to replant everything!  All those fun things you were able to grow in the spring are back in style.  I’ll start a whole new batch of lettuces, spinach and radishes.  This will be perfect for all the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, etc. that I now have.  I’ll have to cover my gardens at night in a few weeks, but I don’t mind.  That’s easy work for me.  And since I’m growing items for several local people in my gardens, this will give me the chance to offer them the option of extending the season if they wish.  I’ve had more come out of my garden this year than I’ve ever had.  I’ll be able to give you an idea of what I was able to do this year in a future post.

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