The Professor & Her Garden

Good soil. Good students. And maybe some decent English peas.

The Hazards of Planting a Garden in the Fall

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Well, I guess I knew it was a possibility.  Finding messages such as “Check back in the spring” on gardening websites should have been a clear clue about the difficulties of growing vegetables in the fall.

But, I live on the coast.  We have mild temperatures all-year long and it is sunny all the time.  My planting zone is either 9 or 10 (depending on what map you look at).

My limas showed the first signs of protest.  After growing about 5 feet per day (seriously, I could have just plopped down and watched the vines develop), they started to looked piqued.  Okay, I’m sure I’m merely anthropamorphasizing (my professor word of the day!), but they looked downright scared.  Fortunately, a rebound of warm days and sunny skies gave my lima beans a new lease on life.

But that was then.  Today, the polar vortex has arrived at sunny, coastal South Carolina.  We have a freeze warning.  The skies are gray.  A strong sea breeze is building.  I’m doubtful the limas will survive.

My peas and snap peas are relatively happy, but I think I better go picking today.  I’ve eaten enough lettuce from the garden to not care all that much if those rows are done.  I imagine that my parsnips and carrots, safely tucked in, growing like crazy under the dirt, are mocking the tomatoes, peas, and poor, pathetic limas.

I’ll do what I can to help the garden survive this weekend (which is not much).  And then I’ll just hope for the best.  I might be surprised by rigor of some of the plants.  Or I might be disappointed.  Not knowing all that much about lima beans, given their robust early growth, I would have thought they would be stars.  Misjudgment on my part, that’s for sure.

And, so it is that this professor has gained another profound lesson from my little sabbatical garden.  My little plants are not unlike my young college students.  They can disappoint.  But they can also surprise.  Here’s hoping for a return of sunny days!


Author: CJPardun

I'm a professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. I am passionate about rowing, I'm mostly scared about sailing (but I'm competent), I love to cook when I don't have to, and I have some fairly strong opinions about journalism education.

One thought on “The Hazards of Planting a Garden in the Fall

  1. There is nothing definite in the biological science. Plants and animals don’t read books. I have garden in several climate areas and change my gardening according.


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