When I mentioned that we usually get a heat wave in the fall, I didn't think it would be the whole friggin' month of September. Even now, as October gets under way, record-breaking temperatures are expected for at least the early part of the week here in Southern California. That said, it's still time for the fall garden so I've been spending my time cleaning out the waning summer crops -- tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, even the gigantor zucchini plant (which was still visible in the lower right corner below the about-to-bloom mums when this photo was taken) -- to prepare the beds for fall.
This year, I took extra care to prepare my soil using some of the techniques learned at my gardening workshop at Esalen. After pulling out all the roots and weeds, I tilled the soil, added a layer of compost and some good potting soil on top of that. I started some seeds that I already had on hand -- kale, lettuce greens and more of the Purple Osaka Mustard I grew last year -- in a small patch near the fence at the back of this photo.
With the majority of the beds still waiting, I perused seed catalogs and, so far, have sent away for spinach and arugula (two kinds) seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and onion and garlic sets from Landreth Seeds. That -- plus the usual carrots and radishes -- should give me a good start. We'll see what comes next. The fun thing about having a clean slate is the idea that anything is possible. Could there be beets in my future?