Today I headed out to the garden to decide which plants will stay in my 3 foot by 4 foot garden box bed, and which ones have seen better days. I realize I am already behind on my late summer seed planting, although I do have some squash I planted in late July that I hope to harvest in several weeks.
Something I might try for the first time this fall, although it looks like it's a summer harvest, is garlic. We Grow Garlic is written by a family in Wisconsin that grows and sells garlic and hosts a garlic growing blog with tons of information on growing garlic througout the, cold, cold Midwestern winter.
Garden Clean up
When fall arrives, I'm usually pretty busy with our shifted schedule of work and classes, but I do like to take some time now to remove any remaining weeds, rocks, or debris in the soil, not to mention dropped leaves or squashed fruits.
I will be removing my green beans and cucumbers for sure in these next few days. My sugar baby watermelon looks nice, as you can see in the first photo. But only one of them is close to harvest size and I've been told that sugar babies aren't ripe until the stem dries up or at least looks dried up. Not so for mine, so this looks to be a failed experiment. Watermelon love heat and this past summer in Chicago, for the most part was a cooler one, especially early in June.
If you are not growing more vegetables for fall, but hoping for a better harvest next season, you could get the garden ready for next growing season with a cover crop, also known as "green manure" because of the beneficial nutrients that they add to your garden soil. These can be worked into the soil after they are mowed down or cut down, rather than harvested and will also help prevent soil erosion.
I will definitely try my hand at these. Not to mention they will add a bit of green to my garden bed before the frost hits. Wondering which cover crops are best for your garden's needs? Read more here about plants best used for cover crops.