Well, the s.o. talked me into it. I wasn't going to buy any seedlings this fall; I was going to rely on plants started from seed. After all, I'm already starting to harvest mature radishes. And the mustard greens are huge, with the turnips coming up fast in their wake.
I have received one order apiece from Pinetree Garden Seeds and Victory Seed Co. this fall (see sidebar for links). I haven't put in my garlic and walking onions yet, but I have planted the purple sprouting broccoli seeds I got. And I have soaked my baby plants with a red-brown murky broth of kelp powder. They look happy. So I thought I was done, more or less.
But that was before the s.o. and I stopped in at Lowe's yesterday--he to buy the last two 99-cent azaleas, and me to purchase a couple sacks of composted manure. He spotted the vegetable seedlings and encouraged me to buy them. I hemmed and hawed because I didn't need them, but in the end I walked away with a 9-pack of brussels sprouts and a 9-pack of red cabbage. (Note to non-Southerners: Most brassicas, aside from collards, are primarily fall crops here. They can't stand our summer, but they like our winter just fine.)
Because I know they'll be gorgeous as well as useful, I planted the red cabbage seedlings along the edge of the gravel walk that leads to our front door. They're replacing some pinks and pansies that have slowly given out over the course of the last year. Then I planted the brussels sprouts in the garden proper, in the place where the okra plants used to be before the deer pruned them into short little non-flowering shrubs that I eventually dug up and composted. I did the math: This should mean brussels sprouts by Christmas, which is perfect timing.
Isn't it weird to be thinking of Christmas when it's (suddenly, again) 90 degrees out? But there is an unmistakable coolness to the early-morning air. I know fall is under there somewhere.