In this issue:

  1. September in the Garden
  2. Eye Candy from the National Heirloom Expo 2018
  3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Direct Sow vs. Starting Indoors
  4. Gardenerd Product of the Month: 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

1. September in the Garden

Fall begins on Sept. 22nd, but the long shadows and cool evenings tell me it’s already here. Yes, it’s still 80° F during the day, but I’m inexplicably drawn to my seed trays and grow lights to bring fall’s garden to life RIGHT NOW! So yes, fall is coming. Keep watching the 10-day forecast for daytime temps in the low 70s before planting out.

In our test garden, we’re pulling spent corn, squash, and sunflower plants. We’re harvesting compost for fall bed prep. We’re harvesting peppers, eggplant, and strawberries. Our basil is flowering (getting hard to keep up with it) so we’ll make more pesto this week. We also canned 12 pints of tomatoes last week, made sauce, and salsa.

We had a great time at the Heirloom Expo (see below for the eye candy tour). Fall gardening classes start soon, so join in here. And if you haven’t yet, please sign my petition to bring back the BioStack composter.

Happy Summer Gardening,



2. Eye Candy from the National Heirloom Expo 2018

Tower of Squash Heirloom Expo
The infamous Tower of Squash is the center of the Heirloom Expo’s Hall of Flowers.

The Heirloom Expo is a wonder to behold. Table upon table of squash, melons, tomatoes, and exotic fruits labeled for your perusal. 3 Speaker halls filled with knowledge. Old-timey bands plucking tunes into the night. And the shopping! It’s the one time each year I am a shameless consumer.  Check out our Wordless Wednesday showcasing the beauty and joy of the Heirloom Expo 2018.

Heirloom Expo Eye Candy 2018

3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Direct Seeding vs. Starting Indoors

pea sprouts
Peas are best direct sown in the garden.

The truth is that you can start most seeds directly in the soil, but some do better if you give them a head-start in a warm, controlled environment. Here’s our guide for the best fall crops to direct sow vs. start indoors:

Best Direct-Seeded:

  • Sugar Snap, Snow, and Shelling Peas – soak overnight
  • Herbs – dill, cilantro, savory, chives
  • Lettuces and leafy greens – arugula, mustard greens, spinach, endive, all lettuces
  • Onion sets, shallots, garlic – you can start onion and green onion seeds indoors for more controlled germination. They also work direct seeded with close supervision.
  • Potatoes – sprout eyes indoors a few weeks beforehand.
  • Root crops – carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, beets

Best Started Indoors (6-8 weeks prior to last frost, or buy nursery transplants):

  • Generally these are plants that either have small seeds and are persnickety about growing conditions, or take a long time to germinate:
  • Brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, collards
  • Celery and Celeriac – they can take several weeks to germinate. That said, they often volunteer in the garden easily.
  • Herbs – parsley, mint, chamomile, lemon balm

Your seed packet will tell you everything you need to know, so read the back before planting.

4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success

Need help this fall? 400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success is sorted by season. Jump to the Fall section for tips on bed prep, seed-starting, protection from pests (hello, cabbage worm, I’m talking to you), and more. It’s digital and easily readable from any Kindle App (which is free to download, BTW). Get your copy today!

400+ Tips for Organic Gardening Success


Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits from Happy fall gardening!

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