So I always plan to garden in the fall, but usually fail. “What? It’s April already? I thought it was still September,” I’ll often be heard to say. Not this fall though. I’ve started the garden already and there’s no turning back now—money has been spent!
I definitely want tomatoes, the old standard. But I want something really, really good. I don’t know exactly what that is, but I am pretty certain I can’t get it locally. I therefore ordered seeds online for Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes. They look really big in the photos. Hope I get similar results.
I also was fortunate to receive some Seminole pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita moschata) from the Fairchild Farm. These are remarkable for being native to the southeast, reportedly still growing wild in the Everglades, and thriving in our brutally hot and wet summers. The vines are said to climb trees and when they fruit, the appearance is that of a pumpkin tree! The fruit looks like a cross between a small pumpkin and a gourd, with a beige skin like a gourd. I planted some seeds in small pots, and one week later the plants are already nearly three inches tall.
Along with the tomato seeds I also ordered Nicotiana rustica, wild tobacco. I don’t plan to smoke any, but it looks to be an attractive little plant, growing to about 15 inches tall. I like its connection to Native Americans, as it was (according to the seller) used as a ceremonial tobacco by Delaware Lenape people. I’ve sown a portion of those seeds (they are tiny, like dark grains of sand) only in one small pot so far. No growth yet; it’s only been three days.
I plan on starting the tomatoes very soon, with hopes of having something in four to six weeks substantial enough to transplant into large pots and the ground. That would make the date early or mid October. Hopefully I’ll be able to “harden” the plants to full sun by then. My concern is the sun will still be too strong for tomatoes at that time of year, but as I am taking a “Vegetable Gardening” class at Fairchild tonight, I’ll find out from the experts and report back.
I built an eight-foot-wide by two-and-a-half-foot-deep raised bed out of wood for the tomatoes. I hope to include arugula and basil to fill in the lower areas once the tomatoes are established. I’ll report back with photos and growth updates here. We’ll see!