Future Tense, Present Tense

Past is Present . . . No! . . . Present is Future

Gardening is so much about planning for the future. Dropping seemingly dead, brown specks into a seed flat in spring in anticipation of juicy, red tomatoes in summer is fun and exciting.

But now, in the glory of summer, I don’t particularly like planning, which means thinking forward to the crisp days of autumn that lie ahead. But I must. I know that when that time finally comes, I’ll have had my fill of hot weather. And the cooler weather coupled with shorter days and low-hanging sun will have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and other summer vegetables on the wane. Planning and action now let me have a whole other garden come autumn, a garden notable for its shades of green (from leaves) rather than the reds and yellows (from fruits) of summer’s garden.

I’ll need plants and free space ready for my autumn garden. Some plants are already in place: One bed has been home, since early spring, to kale, which keeps growing as we harvest leaves through spring and summer, and brussels sprouts, from which harvest won’t even begin until early October.

Cabbage plants sown in seed flats in early June are about ready to plant now out in the garden for autumn harvest. Today I sprinkled seeds of endive into mini-furrows in potting soil in a seed flat.Seed flats The endive seedlings will be ready to move out into the garden in 5 or 6 weeks. I’ve also sown more kale seeds to supplement the spring kale for harvest into and perhaps through (depending on the weather) winter.

Early August will be a good time, around here, for planting Watermelon — the Watermelon variety of winter radish, whose innards look like cut watermelon but taste very radish-y. Also turnips, the delicious variety Hakurei.

I’m also sowing lettuce seeds, which I’ve been doing since spring and continue to do every few weeks. They also go into seed flats, ‘GrowEase’ seed starters, from which I can pop out transplants into any spaces that open up here and there around the garden.

Looking for an Opening

So where am I going to plant all those endives, cabbages, winter radishes, and turnips? The autumn garden will also need room for direct sowings of quickly maturing autumn vegetables like arugula, mustard, and lesser known salad “greens” like mâche (corn salad), erba stella (minutina), and claytonia (miner’s lettuce). The garden is packed full of plants now.

Endive, radish, radicchio in fall

Endive, radish, radicchio in fall

Going into August, space will open up for those autumn garden plants. From my first planting in mid-May, I’ll pick the last ripe ear of Golden Bantam sweet corn around mid-August, then have a whole bed available as soon as I clear away the spent stalks. Similarly for the beds of onions, early bush beans, and edamame.

Black Raspberries (Blackcaps) Redux

Enough planning for autumn and beyond. I’m going outside to feast on blueberries, black raspberries, and gooseberries, for me the essence of summer.Black raspberry

Now that I think of it, as soon as the black raspberries finish up, which is very soon, I do have to plan for them also, for late summer and autumn. The varieties I grow — Niwot and Ohio’s Treasure — are unique in being two-crop black raspberries, just like my “fall-bearing” (“everbearing”) raspberries. That is, they bear in early summer on stems that grew last year, just like conventional black raspberries. But — and here is where they are unique — they also bear in late summer and autumn beginning at the tips of new stems that rose from ground level this spring.

Last year’s stems are just finishing fruiting, after which they begin to die. I’ll cut them away to make room for the new stems and to keep the late summer and autumn harvest from these new stems from becoming a thorny nightmare.Black raspberry fruit


  1. Nora Paul Budziak
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    So, I guess I need to plant Black raspberries? but what I really want is wild blackcaps!

    • Posted August 1, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      The wild and cultivated ones taste the same to me. The cultivated ones, if trained well, are easier to pick, though.

      • Nora Budziak
        Posted August 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Thank you…I will see what I can find to put in for next year…I presume Adams has plants or even the little place in Rhinebeck ‘or’ the Woodstock???Nursery which ever they are..

  2. Kenneth Froberg Sr.
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Let’s see a picture of this season’s blueberry patch.
    How do you cope with wood chucks? Big problem here.

    Thank You for your blogs

  3. Sharon Johnston
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I really enjoy your blog.
    Happy Planting..Happy Harvest and Happy Eating.

  4. Billy Gurd
    Posted July 28, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I am new to this post! But have been Gardening’s for about 45 years! We harvested about 40 lbs of raspberry’s this year! Because of the heat every thing is growing quickly! So far no sign of late blight on the tomatoes! I now have a cover over my cucumbers! Hopeing to stop the powdery mildew! More to come!

  5. April Campbell
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    How are you coping with BMSB? They covered my currants.

  6. Nora Budziak
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    OMG what an amazing crop! You should have enough for this winter and next for Xmas gifts etc

  7. Jane
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Would you please talk of growing lettuce in the heat of the summer. I’ve investigated different lettuces and have shade cloth and am having difficulty . I am a vendor at our local market and had beautiful lettuce till the week after July 4th. It is such a disappointment.

    • Posted September 4, 2018 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      There’s only so much you can do: shade, frequent re-seeding, adequate water

Post a Reply to Lee Reich Cancel reply

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags: b | blockquote | em | i | strike | strong