The crunch of fallen leaves, crisp autumn air, and a palette of picture perfect colors. Fall is here. It’s a time of year that beckons gardeners to get in the yard and work. If only. This gardener is sidelined for fall. A torn Achilles Tendon is to blame. I wish I had a story to tell about the torn tendon. It would be more poetic to be able to say I was on my hands and knees all weekend pulling up the remnants of my vegetable plants and cleaning the planting beds when the tendon made that loud snap. Instead, all I can say is I was just walking and the tendon tore just in time for one of the most beautiful times of the year in Kentucky.

So I sit sidelined on my sofa in a cast yearning to be outside working in the yard. The temperatures have been heavenly. It’s the perfect weather to be out in the yard relishing in the Zen-like ritual of tending to the yard this time of year. Instead, I have had a front row seat to see the final production of my tomato plants. Ripe tomatoes just dangling on the vine as if to say “Come and get me. I am tasty.” I feel like a rabbit who has a carrot dangling in front of her. I won’t be sinking my teeth into those remaining tomatoes on the vine. It’s adding insult to injury. This was, after all, a less than bumper backyard crop this year. Other than the wildlife critters who had first picks of my vegetables, I’m not quite sure what happened this summer. I had already resigned myself that it was a wash. But I was looking forward to having a plentiful fall garden. The anticipation of growing all those cool season crops like lettuce, spinach, and radishes had me excited to make up for the summer. I was also ready to expand my gardening horizons and try to grow new vegetables I have not planted yet like broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage. That was obviously not meant to be this year and will have to wait for 2014.

Alas, I must live vicariously through other gardeners. So this year, do as I say not as I do. Your honey-do list should include planting bulbs to add a splash of color in the spring. If you don’t plant them store them in a cool, dry place. It’s also a good time to divide your perennial plants if they are looking overgrown. Dividing them will give them a boost next spring that should have them looking extra vibrant and healthy. Friends and neighbors will gladly accept the extras you’ve dug up. As for all those fallen leaves, if you’re not up to raking and bagging, run the mower over them. After they are shredded, simply rake them into your flower beds. It’s great as mulch to protect tender plants as we head in for the long winter. Plus all the natural goodies in leaves make for a superfood for your soil.

Meanwhile, I sit and recover, a squashed gardener. I must heal soon before I come up with more bad puns!

Posted on 2013-11-19 by Michelle Rauch