🌺 September Gardening - It's Definitely Different (Part 1)

September has come, and the change of the season is starting to show in my precious garden.


Back To Normal

This year, we experienced the most tropical summer in the history of our little country. Week after week, there was nothing but heat and drought. Temperatures were high above average, and we didn't get a single drop of rain.

The garden was really suffering. In the entire country, there was no green grass to be found. It was unseen before.

But these last three weeks, everything turned back to normal: a lot of rain, a cloudy sky, and - with a little luck - a little bit of sunshine every now and then.


Fall Is Coming

The end of the gardening season here in Belgium is slowly coming to an end.
Some plants have given everything they had, and are now dying. Pests have tried to take over some plants, but they didn't see me and my magical garlic/neemoil spray coming.

Still, you can see I'm starting to lose the battle.

September... This is the time when you start talking to your tomatoes, asking them to start turning red or yellow, because you don't want to be stuck with a truckload of green tomatoes.

Every day, I check on my tiny Chayote fruit, hoping it will have grown a little. I smell the melons to find out if they can be harvested already.

Because, you know, we're almost running out of time.



Almost all the fruit has been harvested. This was the first year we had actual grapes growing. It was pretty exciting, since we didn't have a clue what they would taste like. What a relieve it was to find out they were simply delicious. Best grapes I ever tasted.

The melon pear plant fell victim to some kind of strange disease. The fruits were almost ripe enough to eat, so we harvested them, just to be sure. We put them inside so they could ripe a little longer. I assume they will be perfectly ripe in another week or so. I simply can't wait.

meloenpeer.jpgClick image to enlarge

Melon pears are not sold in stores here in Belgium, so the only chance I have to eat this extremely delicious fruit is when I manage to grow them myself.

This year, we managed to grow about 10 fruits on one plant. It's going to be such a delight when they're finally ripe enough to eat them. I've been waiting a whole year for this.


Chayote And Cape Gooseberry

One of the 'problems' that pop up when you're not really gardening by the book, and just winging it a bit, is that sometimes you don't take into consideration that some plants might grow bigger than expected.

This obviously happened to both the Cape Gooseberry and the Chayote, which were both first-timers in my garden.

I planted them too close together, and now it seems like they have merged into one plant. The Chaoyte vines are clinging on to the branches of the Cape Gooseberry everywhere, turning the bed into a complete chaos. Meanwhile, the branches of the Cape Gooseberry keep growing in every direction, taking up way more space than I had ever expected.

chayote and cape Gooseberry.jpgClick image to enlarge

It is a beautiful sight, but it is almost impossible to reach in between the branches to pick the little lanterns that are ready for consumption.

Fortunately, we found out we're not really fond of the taste of the tiny yellow bulbs, so most of the time we just leave them hanging there. The only downside to this is that we're going to have loads of little Cape Gooseberry plants in that spot next year.

After being infected with and treated against spider mite, the Chayote plant seems to be doing fine again. The new leaves look perfectly healthy.

For as far as I can see in that complete chaos, we have only 2 Chayote fruits growing. I'm a bit worried because they are still very small. I hope they will start growing at warp speed, so I will finally get a chance to find out what they taste like. (Last year, the plant died before it could grow any fruit.)

So, fingers crossed...



The melons have done pretty well this year. Our two watermelon plants have produced way better than last year: we've already harvested 3 watermelons, and a fourth one is almost good to go.

One of the sugar melon plants has given up, after giving us one very delicious piece of fruit. I still need to remove the plant from the small greenhouse. On the other plant, two more melons are growing - it will take another week or so and they will be ready to be harvested too.

melons.jpgClick image to enlarge



It wasn't such a great year for the cucamelons. I planted/sowed them a little too late in the season, so the harvest was not as big as last year. Still, I really enjoyed growing these grape-sized watermelons that taste like cucumber with a little touch of citrus. They are my favorite garden candy. Whenever I visit the garden, I pick a couple and put them straight into my mouth. They never make it to the kitchen, lol. I just eat them right where I stand.

cucamelons1.jpgClick image to enlarge

Both plants are showing signs that their best days are over. I won't be able to enjoy my little mouse melons for much longer. Such a shame...


Lemon Apple Cucumber

Early in the season, I sprouted a lot of the seeds in my propagator, because I wanted to give them a little head start. For some reason, all seedlings died.

It was a desperate move to sow seeds directly outside, a lot later than I was supposed to. But it worked. Although the plants haven't grown very big, we did get some of those yellow, round cucumbers.

I'm really thankful for that, especially because our regular cucumber plant died halfway the season.


Yacon And Crosne

Both Yacon plants are doing great. They are not as big as the one I had last year, but they are just as beautiful. I still have to be patient, since the juicy tubers that taste like apple should only be harvested right before the first frost.

yacon and crosne.jpgClick image to enlarge

Both containers of crosne are looking good. I haven't checked yet, but I'm sure that meanwhile there will be more of those crispy tubers that resemble the Michelin Man in there than grains of sand.

The big benefit of crosne is that the tubers are winter hardy, which means you can harvest what you need all winter long, and leave the rest in the container outside. Super easy!
But again, I need to be patient, since you can only start harvesting by the end of November.


Squashes And Gourds

I had different kinds of squashes and gourds planted this year.

The Hokkaido plant produces small, orange squashes and to my big surprise, he was definitely the star of the garden this year. He grew so big that he overtook two gardening beds. Yesterday, we harvest 3 squashes and prepared a delicious meal with them. But it ain't over till the fat lady sings. The vines of the plant are growing longer each day, a good number of pumpkins are still growing.

pumpkin.jpgClick image to enlarge

The fig-leaved gourd was one of the new experiments this year. From what I read, the plant would become huge and could carry up to 50 fruits per plant.
50 is a number we're fortunately not going to reach - what on earth would we do with 50 gourds for just the two of us?

Two weeks ago, we harvested one because we thought it was ripe, but it tasted so bitter that we assume it wasn't.
At that time, it was the only gourd growing. Yesterday, I discovered three more. They appeared to come out of nowhere. These gourds are definitely the fastest growing veggies I've ever seen. You can literally see how much they grow each day.

gourds.jpgClick image to enlarge

As a side note: the fig-leave gourd is also one of the most stubborn plants I have ever grown. When I planted it, I built a special trellis for it to grow against. Do you think it cared? Absolutely not. It simply grew against the wall of our garden, in the other direction than where the trellis was and chose his own way.

It's awesome to see how strong those little, curly strings are: the can attach to almost everything and are strong enough to carry the weight of the plant.

And then there is the Butternut. All summer long it looked like the plant was determined to die again without producing anything. It wasn't until yesterday that I spotted the first, tiny butternut. It is still so small - I hope there's enough time left for it to grow.


More To Come

You know I have a lot more to show you. But just like last month, I won't keep you too long and I will split my garden update up into multiple posts.

I still have to show you around a part of the backyard, the gardening beds in the front yard and of course my one and only greenhouse.






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Wow, I can see a bountiful harvest soon!! Yums!

We've been harvesting loads and loads of tomatooes these last two weeks. Filled our entire freezer with them. Squashes will be next :0)

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Sooo jelly!!! 😍

Those tomatoes need to turn faster than Jesus did water to wine. Winter is coming...

"... and when the Long Night falls, only the Night’s Watch will stand between the realm and the darkness that sweeps from the North."

We still have fall inbetween, right?!
Because I have so many tomato plants and a bad back I haven't been able to stop the growth of every plant. Some are even still flowering, lol.

Fortunately, I learned last year that it is pretty easy to pick the tomatoes that aren't ripe when it gets too cold, and take them inside to ripe further.

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I did wonder earlier in the summer what would happen if I just let the tomatoes grow unchecked ... the plants would have been like monsters!

I have a similar problem but we removed pretty much all the foliage on Monday and the tomatoes are starting to colour quite quickly - I'll be picking some by Friday, I reckon.

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Lovely garden you have there @simplymike, quite amazing to think here in the Southern hemisphere we're going into spring, the gardens are coming alive again! You have some real interesting fruit & veg there!

Thanks. I have this 'thing' for lesser known fruits and veggies, lol. They might be not so special in other parts of the world, but here in Belgium most peope grow 'the regular' stuff :0)

I'm happy for you spring is coming. Here, everything will be going downhill from now on. Fortunately, I have quite some veggies (Yacon, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem Artichoke, crosne) that will at least be in the garden until the first frost, so I will have things to do once all my tomato plants have died :0)

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At least here we have mild winters but not where you live @simplymike! At least gives you time to focus on prepping and getting the garden shed etc in order, if that's any consolation!

I always plan to do things like that during winter, but it never happens, lol

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Wow.... so much stuff that you are fitting under that greenhouse of yours! It looks like it was definitely worth it, with some really unusual and interesting sounding veggies and fruits that you have grown!

This is just a part of what is in the backyard, not in the greenhouse. You should see the greenhouse, though, lol, you can barely walk all ghrough to the end, that's how full it is.
I'll post the second part of the backyard tomorrow, and hopefully I can show you the greenhouse the day after :0)

I love your beautiful blog posts but I’d be very interested to see a video tour 🤗

To be honest, the garden is a real mess. Because of my surgeries I have only been able to do the basics. When taking pictures, I can make sure you guys only see what I want you to see, lol.

On top of that: all my beds and containers are spread all over the back-and frontyard, it's not easy to make a coherent video.

And lastly,if I should ever do it, I will add some music to.it and use subtitles, because I hate to listen to a recording of my voice, lol

How many green tomato's do you have there? I had about 20 red ones and all the rest is not even doing an attempt to change color yet. once they start to turn red it could be worth the gamble to harvest them and then hope they change color while ripening on the windowsil
Or at least a few of them... Still they may all turn red at the same time, and then i don't have enough time to consume them all, hehe

We've been harvesting buckets of ripe tomatoes these last two weeks, but you can see it's taking longer for the last ones to ripe. I still have loads of green ones, because I wasn't capable to make them stop growing tomatoes (still recovering from back surgeries.)

Last year I took the green ones from the plant and put half of them on the windows ill, and the other half in a closed cardboard box with some newspapers at the bottom. Both ways worked perfectly fine.

And if you have too many of them to consume, you can just put them in the freezer. Just put them in there like they are, no cooking or nothing, and if you want to make tomato sauce or soup during winter, you just take them.out and throw them in a pot. Easy peasy :0)

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i'll give the cardboard box a try as well I just have a massive amount of over production, during the hot days the plants grew but the tomatoes where slow, then the rain came and the tomatoes grew like crazy. :-) next year 60% less tomato plants....

Must be frustrating when recovering form surgeries...

Looking forward to read more on your gardening. Take it easy though!

Thanks. It's frustrating indeed.

And I'm with you on the tomato plants: I definitely do not need 18 plants when there's just the two of us, lol


I discovered an additional issue, I have Cherry tomatoes and boring waterbombs. And the bumblebees cross pollinated them. So if i now discover better taste then i need to save a few seeds, and the ones that taste bad i also need to keep awat from the compost heap to be sure that those seeds do not make it into the next year....

It would be great if you were able to create a new variety :0)

I just which tomatos would smell like tomato again, like in he 80's
The cherry tomato's smell good but compared to the 80's it is merely a whisper

I must admit I never smelled tomatoes back in the eighties. Now I think of it, I never smell them now either, lol

Looks at all the trail and errors, but the fruits of your labor is amazing!

Oh, and dang those spider mites. They are always a pain to deal with.

This was actually the first time I had to deal with spider mites. Fortunately, they didn't like my garlic spray, because the plant looks all fine again.

But now I noticed they are in the greenhouse too and apparently it isnot so easy to get rid of them once they are inside. I guess I'll be planting cloves of garlic everywhere in the greenhouse tomorrow, and use the spray again - for as far that will be possible, since it is a real jungle of tomato plants in there ...

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Wow that's an awesome post in almost a willy wonka and chocolate factory like feeling :) so many plants I had no idea about in once post. Melon pears, cucamelons, Yacon And Crosne... Never heard of any of these. I was happy with my seedling cherry tomatoe plant sprouting 1 red tomato last week :) but now want to plant more less mainstream fruit plants etc :D

I fell in love with unusual fruits and veggies last year. There are so many things they don't sell in stores here in Belgium, while for example Yacon and Crosne can really thrive here.

There are so many things that are unknown to most people, but are so delicious.

Of course, if you experiment with lesser known things, it's always a bit of a gamble. Last year I had planted Kiwano, and although they look awesome, the taste of the fruit was not spectacular. On top of that it was such a mean plant: the vines, the leaves,... everything was covered with thousands of thorns you could barely see. Very painful experience, so I decided not to replant it this year. Which gave me some space to try a couple of new things :0)

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Ah like the good old prickly pear, that looks like they where despiked.... But they never are because of the micro thorns 😮 had to Google a kiwano, the thorny melon :D looks great visually for sure.

You have quite a variety of fruits and veggies @simplymike. Those grapes reminded me of my granny’s garden in Romania. She had grapes like yours, they were delicious. You can’t find those grapes in the store!!!

Indeed, these are so delicious...
But that's not different for other things:tomatoes, strawberries,... they are all so much better when you grow them yourself :0)

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I remember this from my childhood, now everything is store bought
But working on changing that
This post is going to speed up the plans haha
Your garden looks amazing 😊

Thanks, @kaerpediem. I know how that feels. 4 years ago I still lived in the middle of the city, without a garden. So everything we ate was store-bought too.
Last night, it was almost unreal to see that my dinner plate was entirely filled with homegrown veggies :0)

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Hey @simplymike among all of your beautiful garden the first pic caught my eye....what you call them??. I had few in my farmz and we throw them away. This time i had few of its pic to make a post but never went ahead, as i was not sure what we call them.

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These are Cape Gooseberries, or Physalis peruviana. Inside the lanterns are little yellow berries.

But the Tomatillo fruits grow in exactly the same looking paper lantern, so it could have been either

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Okay..thats quite interesting..i have seen green bud like thing inside the soft lantern....we treat them as weeds...had many but throw them by plucking from soil

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Tomatillis come in gree n and purple...

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Ohhh will thought of utilising the pic..may be in a post 😉day or tommorow

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Simply beautiful, WELL DONE!
It takes time and patience to build a garden like this one... be very, very proud of yourself.

Lemon Apple Cucumber
first time I hear of it...
Overall, a well structured post with amazing photography, thank you for sharing.

Thanks for your kind words, @lady-idra. I had hoped to get the second part of the post out today, but I'm not sure I will make it.

The lemon apple cucumber is something I discovered last year. Their taste is a bit softer than that of regular cucumbers.

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OMG!!! I soooo love your garden!!! I'm planning to make my own in the future. YOur plants are well taken care of and looks so healthy and happy. :-) Would love to know garden tips from you. Also I followed you right away since I so wanted to have my own garden one day and your truly a master.

Thanks for your kind words, but, lol, I'm not a master by far. This is only my fourth year of gardening, and this year, everything is a real mess. I have had surgery two times this year, and I'm still not completely recovered yet. So I haven't been able to do a lot, except for sowing, planting and watering.
There are weeds everywhere, and the plants haven't been nurtured like during the previous seasons. They just had their go and did their own thing.

Fortunately, once a plant is in the ground, it grows all by himself, lol

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I love all the melons and squash-type fruits and vegetables that are synonymous with Fall. Yours all looks great ... melon pear is something else I've never had, so if you manage to think about it, show me an photo of the inside please :) I know when they're finally ripe, you'll just want to shovel them in though haha

So, you never found out what the mystery disease was?

Sending this off to c-squared too :)

I think it ,as spider-mite and it looks like it is e erywhere.

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Wow! What an amazing journey through your garden! So many of those plants I’ve never even heard of! I wish I could actually walk through your garden and taste some of your garden candy! I do enjoy seeing how big the different plants get and how they don’t always adhere to your plans for them as this will help me plan my spring beds 🤓
On a side note, I also love the rounded corners on your pics and the general layout of your post! I think I still have much to learn about post layout! Thanks so much for this awesome post and this awesome competition! I look forward to sharing my post too - I just have a few more plants I want to get from the nursery :)

Thanks for your kind words.
I love experimenting with lesser known veggies: you never know what you're going to get :0)

Also: thanks for the compliments on the layout. The rounded corners aren't very hard to make. I simply use the BeFunky collage maker for that. It's a free tool that is pretty easy to use.

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Some interesting vegetables that I haven't come across before. How big is your garden?

It is fairly big, but I have gardening beds and containers spread all around the back and front yard

I adore your garden! You have planted such a nice variety of unique plants. I hope you get a bountiful harvest from every one of them. I ordered a bunch of unique seeds to plant this year, but travel plans happened and I'm going to save them for next year instead.

I just realized you are from Belgium. I had the opportunity to visit for a few days and fell in love with your country. I hope to be able to visit for longer period someday, and perhaps even buy property there. :-)

Cool, although I can't imagine why anyone would pick Belgium out of all those wonderful places in tbe world, lol

Really? Belgium had such a neat, laid-back feeling to it. It seemed much less corporate than the other countries I visited. Real estate was definitely on the cheap side where I was in Dinant. The people we met were all chill people - most of the stores we stopped into had the owners on site. I just really loved it. Of course, I was only there a couple days and only in one city. I'm sure that makes a huge difference.

I guess the idea of a country just depends whether you live in it or not.
I agree that most Belgians (definitely not all of them, lol) are pretty laid-back.
At least that's what the Dutch always say about us :0)

What would you say are the worst parts about living in Belgium? I'm in Cleveland, OH and I'd have to say it the weather and the racism. The winters here are awfully cold and snowy and last for what feels like 10 months. The racism is rampant! I've never been in a place where people are so divided by ethnicity.

I think I would pick the same two things. Qlthough winter only ladt from November till March - if we're lucky.
And racism... it's all around. It's aweful how people think they are better than others just because the color of their skin. A lot of big cities are ruled by parties of the right wing, with all consequences related.
And me... I'm allergic to racism. It's something I can not understand at all, still, it's everywhere around me, every day again... :0(

I like that - allergic to racism. Yes, I don't understand it either. Where does it come from? How has it gotten to be so ingrained in the mindset of some people? Makes no sense to me.

Me neither. I'm a very empathic person. Most of the time I can put myself i someone dlse's shoes and understand why they say or do something, but racism is an exception to that. I simply don't get that state of mind.
Always nice to hear that there are others, lol

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Wow that's some really cool stuff you grow! I'll have to read up on some of them.

Do you know how to tell when the butternut squash are ready? This is my first year of growing them and hoping to pick them at the perfect time to put in the root cellar...

Fun times checking out your garden! Thanks for sharing!

This is what I found out about the butternuts.
1st: best wait till October, but before the first frost


Pick them when …

*the skins are tan, with no green lines showing
*the stems are brown, and the vines have died back

Hope that helps

Sounds like a good plan. Thanks!

You are just a master!!! Absolutely love your work here. Those cucamelons! And those other big melon things - cool! I hear you with the worry about the weather. It's going to be a tough one for us as well I think.

It's never fun when summer is gone. I can see my plants stafting to suffer. Temperatures are dropping to 6°C at night . time to start harvesting the herbs that can't stand the cold...