In My Garden – October 2019

It’s pumpkin time, and there is a tsunami of pumpkin this and pumpkin that everywhere! I am not a big fan of pumpkin spice or even pumpkin pie (which seems somehow un-American). But I do love all the winter squashes that are currently in the market. Unfortunately my own garden environment is too cool in the summer to grow them.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things growing in the garden.ย  I’m still harvesting lettuce, arugula, chard, cilantro, parsley, Lacinato kale (or cavolo nero or Tuscan Kale), beets, and carrots. This month I seeded more kale, chard, cilantro, carrots (the small round Parisienne variety), arugula and several varieties of lettuce. The weather has cooled so growth will slow but, since we rarely get any frost, they should flourish with our winter rain.

Raised bed vegetable garden - Fort Bragg, CARaised bed vegetable garden – Fort Bragg, CA

The baskets are to keep the birds from eating the seedlings, to discourage marauding night creatures from digging for worms (the skunks can come in under the gate…we have captured them on our night camera), and to prevent our cat from using the beds as a litter box.

The artichoke plants completely died back during the summer and I thought they hadn’t survived. In fact I started to dig them out and then was surprised to see new shoots at the base of a stem; I added compost and mulch to see what would happen. Here they are now in early autumn, with luck I will have artichokes in the spring.

Artichokes - October 2019Artichokes – October 2019

The redwood trees surrounding us make gardening a bit of a pain. The redwoods roots are very aggressive in searching out any water, they love the rich damp soil in my raised beds and come up through the wire mesh in the bottom. Once all the plants in a bed are finished, I have to dig out the roots and add new soil (otherwise the roots would completely fill the beds). It’s a lot of hard work because there are a lot of roots, about half the soil is gone and needs to be replaced. It’s the price of being surrounded my such majestic beauty.

This time of year the color green takes over as many flowering plants are not at their best. Here is a view of the back perennial bed.

Western cottage garden - Back bed Fort Bragg, CA

Western cottage garden – Back bed Fort Bragg, CA October 2019

And here it was at the same time last year.

View to the back of the house, October 2018 Fort Bragg, CA

View to the back of the house, October 2018 Fort Bragg, CA

The garden has changed!

Much to the delight of the resident hummingbirds, the salvias and cupheas are still in full bloom. They will keep providing nectar throughout most of the winter. From those birds I have been able to identify (they are rarely still), we have Allen’s hummingbirds. They usually leave in mid-winter to migrate and then show up again in the early spring. I would love to attract some Anna’s (who stick around all year) but haven’t seen any so far. The Allens are quite aggressive in defending their territory.

Salvia 'Amistad', in back Salvia greggii (I am not sure of the variety but it is lovely salmon color)

Salvia ‘Amistad’, in back Salvia greggii (I am not sure of the variety but it is lovely salmon color)


Salvia elegans also called 'Pineapple Sage' this one is especially loved by the hummiingbirds

Salvia elegans also called ‘Pineapple Sage’ this one is especially loved by the hummingbirds


Cuphea – Candy Corn Plant (appropriate for October)

The pollinator meadow is greening and showing millions of baby seedlings.

Pollinator meadow, mowed but millions of baby seedlings starting

Pollinator meadow (2019), mowed but millions of baby seedlings starting from the seeds


Meadow- soil improved by ton of new soil and compost – October 2018

Everything survived while we were away in Scotland last month, this month is busy as we leave for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland tomorrow and will be gone again. Thank goodness for a wonderful house/garden/dog/cat sitter. I am not sure what we will do when she goes back to work early next year.



20 thoughts on “In My Garden – October 2019

  1. Your pictures are beautiful!! I wish I could see it in person! We could also use a picture of the animals- not the skunks, the dog/cat animals.

    Also- I laughed at your autocorrect– it changed Lacinato to Latino!! (Unless you are really growing latino kale- in which case I am learning something new!

    • Thanks Jane. Frat that auto correct! I was in a hurry to write the post before we left for Ashland. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  2. You house and garden are beautiful! I don’t really understand pumpkin spice either. I mean, it’s no different than spices you add to eggnog. It really has nothing to do with pumpkins. I mean, there’s no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte, right?!!!

    • They do make it a challenge, especially if it dry shade with a lot of root competition.

  3. Your garden is looking amazing! Your raised beds looks so inviting and full of lovely produce. We still have beetroots, kale and cabbages, no pumpkins this year, we had 2 last year, not too successful.
    I love that you have hummingbirds! We mainly have pigeons and seagulls ๐Ÿ™‚
    You are so productive!

    • We are just far enough inland that we don’t get the gulls, I like the sound of them. Do they raid your garden? It’s very gratifying to grow some of our own food isn’t it?

      • hi Liz
        They don’t come to the garden, they mainly sit on the roof tops and keep an eye on you. They are quite loud sometimes but beautiful to look at. We have foxes sometimes and one year we had cubs who loved to jump on top of anything we grew! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was impossible to get too upset.
        I love to watch my food grow and it tastes so much better!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I agree. We have foxes although I havenโ€™t seen any cubs, that would be fun.i think our dogs make them timid. We only see them on our night camera.

      • My dogs hear them but I think chase them down the garden at night! Not sure what the young one would do if she actually caught one! ๐Ÿ™‚ the cubs were absolutely adorable!

      • Because we have skunks in the garden at night as well, we take them out on the leash after dark. Hopefully your dogs are like our own and just like to chase anything that runs.

      • Ah, we don’t have skunks here and by the time the dogs are outside any fox/squirrel/cat is usually long gone ๐Ÿ™‚ And they love a chase!

  4. Liz, once again thanks for sharing your garden with us. The after and before image of back perennial bed was wonderful. I love to see how perennial gardens fill out. Hummingbirds don’t make it over this way, but when we lived in the US we loved them and now do miss them.
    Pumpkin spice, I say why bother. I’m also a non-pumpkin pie person, but love all the squashes in savory dishes.

    • The winter squashes are a favorite of mine as well, but without the sweet stuff. They are delicious and sweet enough on their own. Are you going to have a garden now that you have moved?

  5. What a beautiful blog. You remind me of my own surprise at discovering that the artichokes is planted were perennials. Theoretically they would love and produce for five years but in fact it was more like ten. Enjoy!

    • Thank you Rachel, I did think they were dead because they looked completely dried up at mid summer. They looked like a lost cause and I was resolved to dig them up and plant something else in that bed. They are now about 3 feet tall with numerous shoots. Hopefully I will get more artichokes than last spring. I think they are lovely looking plants and the bees absolutely adore the flowers if you let them go.

  6. Your garden is looking beautiful! Mine is pitiful after a couple of days of frost. I tried to save a few plants (the peppers that were still loaded with baby fruits) by draping them with blankets but who knows if they survived or not. Came here looking for your cornbread dressing/stuffing. Itโ€™s that time again when I need to think of my Thanksgiving menu. I remember you have a killer dressing recipe!

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