Growing Season Home Stretch...Halloween tomatoes perhaps?

September - already. Though it is 90 degrees out there (I just got in from watering), the humidity is lower, and the angle of the sun and quality of light and the sounds of birds and insects say that yes, indeed - fall is just around the corner.  But...not too fast, I hope!

Before I forget (which I've done often recently), I am collecting data on our projects's new dwarf tomato releases. The 60 and counting new varieties that the team created finding their ways into seed catalogs are dying for some feedback. Please click the link and fill in any information you can...we've love to start to get a sense of what people think of these, which do well where, which will be the cream that rises to the top, and which will likely fade into eventual gardening oblivion. As feedback starts to accumulate, I will provide periodic reports.

I've still got plenty of garlic from last spring, and have begun to get the garden beds ready for the fall planting. Aside from use as a pollinator garden (all sorts of flowering shrubs and perennials), the only thing our side garden seems suitable for is garlic (rabbit and deer proof!). I am preparing four rows by topping with the broken down driveway straw bales, digging it in, then topping with a thick layer of potting mix from our driveway grow bags.

Peppers continue to thrive in our driveway. The eggplants were looking a bit ratty, so I trimmed them up and fingers are crossed for another harvest. Everything got a good feeding today.

Ah, tomatoes. Though all 170 plus of our initial planting was gone as of a few weeks ago, the various rooted cuttings and recently germinated seeds for the Dwarf project work are up and growing very well indeed. I am really excited about the various variegated seedlings that are now growing well. Since the only variegated leaf tomato in my collection is a boring, smallish, bland red, my new crosses should expand the color range considerably. Though a major planting will have to wait until next spring, I have a few sneak peeks growing. I also have my 8 new indeterminate X dwarf hybrids on the way, hoping to get a few ripe fruit from each for a head start on dwarf hunting next year. There are some really unusual pairings, and I look forward to seeing how far I've managed to stretch the tomato possibility envelope.

Below are two views of the driveway, the Carrot Like X Dwarf Scarlet Heart hybrid, a normal and charteuse leaf Mortgage Lifter comparison, and one of the new variegated offspring.

I am keeping busy seeking speaking opportunities for 2017 and beyond - watch my Upcoming Events page as my future dance card becomes filled in. We are off to the Heritage Harvest Festival in Monticello on Thursday - I am speaking on both Friday and Saturday. The year may be winding down in terms of events - but there are more books to write, gardens to plan, events to schedule - and a long, hard think back on my 2016 garden (what went well, what didn't), and planning for 2017. There really isn't a gardening season.  There is just a continuum of time.