October 2023 Garden Update
As the days grow colder and shorter, we begin to reflect on the season and make notes for next year. Like so many gardeners, we experienced a difficult start to the season with all the rain we received in June and early July.
This year, we started many of our flower and vegetable seedlings indoors at the office, thanks to donated seeds from Eden Brothers. Between the rain and lack of sun, our seedlings couldn’t get established quick enough after planting, creating the perfect opportunity for cutworms to girdle our tender plants. Good thing we grew extra! We endured a sad and comical few weeks where we were constantly replacing seedlings in the gardens as we crossed our fingers that cutworm would spare us another day.
Thankfully by early July, our seedlings finally received enough sun to get established. Our sad looking peppers and basil made a full comeback and became the stars of the show. Going a little overboard with pepper varieties, we planted 9 different types: ancho/poblano, hungarian hot wax, jalapeno, anaheim chili, cayenne, red cherry, corno di toro rosso, lady bell, and padron peppers. We interplanted thai basil with the peppers and sprinkled other basil varieties throughout the field and gardens. Interplanting to maximize the space, attract pollinators, increase biodiversity, and beautify the area is a core practice we utilize at Tidewater Farm.
After the heavy rain began to subside, the gardens started to show their colors. The Pussy Willow (Salix spp.) in the hedgerow stretched its branches to the sky, the Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) buzzed with bees and wasps, and the American Lady caterpillar returned to the Pearly Everlasting to feast. It was delightful to see all the critters return to the gardens – even the resident groundhog that seems to have a new home by the small shed. It’s the diversity of plants and animals that makes Tidewater Farm a special place to visit.
With the arrival of fall, we’re looking ahead to planting garlic in early November. Garlic planting marks the official end of the growing season for us at Tidewater Farm and a final celebration for what we’ve accomplished in the garden this year. More to come on season reflections and plans for 2024 in the next newsletter!