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Three great plants are stars of my fall garden

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Courtesy of Craig Summers Black

(Read caption) Usually bulletproof, my Liberty apples got a little blemished during this sorry, soggy summer. But they still taste scrumptious.

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After just about the snowiest winter on record (almost 50 inches!) and the third-worst summer in the nation (rain, rain, and more rain), we out here in fly-over country are finally catching a break -- Indian summer.

Three weeks after our average first freeze date, we’ve had only a couple of light frosts – just enough to kill the crabgrass and leave almost everything else green and lush, looking as if I had actually finished weeding the place.

Somehow the veg garden is still pumping out beans, peppers, and tomatoes. The Yukon Gold spuds are all in, but the sweet potatoes – which need a longer growing season – are still half in the ground, waiting to get bigger and sweeter. And it just may happen.

Three other things I like about this time of year:

Apples: More than 10 years ago, when I first started the orchard, I was enchanted by heirloom/antique apples. I figured, hey, they didn’t have chemical sprays back then, so they must do OK now without it. And every time I saw the words “one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites” in a catalog, I bought one.

Evidently, Tom never met an apple tree he didn’t like, because I ended up with about 30 of them. (Unfortunately, I found that many of them suffer from all kinds of awfulness.) For insurance, I planted a couple modern-day, disease-resistant trees in the backyard. They are both Liberty, and, to my mind, the best- tasting of this genre.

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