September has been a summer extension this year. A few slightly cooler days, but mostly it felt like summer. Pushing 90 degrees, sunny, no rain, hot and a bit humid. With lots of warm, sunny days, we kept picking tomatoes, beans, sweet corn, and more. But the fall harvest waits for no one, and the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and apples are filling the storage areas.
Some people still think Labor Day is the end of the harvest season, but September is just the beginning for lots of crops. All the apples are just starting: Honey Crisp, Fuji, McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathon, Stayman Winesap, and October will bring even more. Vegetable crops like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower thrive on the cooler nights that finally came our way at the end of the m
We also pushed to get seeds started for late fall and winter harvests. The hydroponic house is filled with lettuces, baby bok choy, arugula, basil and other herbs, for our CSAs and farm market. And the high tunnel is planted with squash, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, mizuna, kale, chard, scallions, and flowers. Radishes and more scallions will fill in the spaces until the larger crops grow up. The herb house is still going strong, as is the fig tunnel. The okra house is ready to convert to a kale and collards house.
Outside, the plants are still looking great, thanks to the summery weather and drip irrigation (no rain for 6 weeks means water has to come from elsewhere!). Green, yellow and purple beans are still abundant as well as figs, raspberries, lima beans, peppers, and eggplant. Late flower plantings have brought an abundance of gladiolas and dahlias, making stunning bouquets. Outdoor crops will continue into December, and sometimes January, depending on the weather. We also plant knowing that harvest will be next spring. Many crops will winter over very successfully and then be ready for harvest in early spring.
Of course, critters outside are seeking winter supplies and shelter. I rarely see a snake, but they are welcome rodent control. We race the squirrels to see who can harvest the most chestnuts—I think the squirrels won this year.
By the end of September, we are ready for freshly picked apples, apple butter, apple cider, cider donuts, pumpkins, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pies—all things fall. I have watched my mother make apple and pumpkin pies for decades, and enjoyed eating them! I have loved all things summer, and now it’s time to embrace all things fall!