Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011

We wake one morning to a different color filtering through our window.  The room has a dusky, rosier hue, much different from the stark brightness of the sun already climbed high in the sky.  Away with the haze and heat of summer - the air quality is invigorating.  A light north wind, clear and brisk, has swept away the buzzing of cicadas.  Soft clouds strewn like patchwork canvas the horizon, while a deep, impenetrable blue of a marvelous September morning sky glows overhead.
100 sq. ft of fall vegetable plants and seed

The renewal of cool weather lures us back into the garden.  Fall planting is in full swing as we dig compost in each planting hole for brussels sprouts and cabbage.  Broccoli, too, could be given a shot.  Although we are not planting them, peas and spinach may make it before heavy frost brings growth to a stop.  Interestingly, the Farmer's Almanac is calling for the Southeast to have a "very mild, very wet" winter:  perhaps off-season gardening will do well this year.

The major problem we have with this often droughty turn of the year is giving our young plants enough water to thrive.  We don't think of it in the 50-degree dew-covered mornings, but tender plants wilt in 85-degree afternoons.  So once again we are snaking soaker hoses which conserve water and deliver to the root zone around these plants.

We sowed an assortment of fast-maturing seed:  mixed greens, Swiss chard, rainbow carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips in a bed 5ft x 20 ft.  Root crops survive the winter well with straw mulch if it turns cold.  There is only one crop we have yet to plant, and that is garlic, which goes in the ground by late October at the same time as a cover crop of red clover.  One of these weekends, if the weather cools significantly, we plan to head out to Whispering Pines Stables to collect more composted manure to spread over our future spinach bed. 

The garden in September

Tomato plants, even the determinate varieties, are setting new fruit following Tropical Depression Lee's 1.1 inch rain last week.  Parsley, too, has resurrected since going almost dormant in the heat of August.  We're still collecting cardboard, which will act as the sheet over which we add a blanket of leaves to tuck the future summer garden in for the winter.  Our future corn patch will be planted in red clover for the winter, and the additional plot is our fall/winter/spring vegetable garden in cultivation now.  These three garden plots are continually roatated each year to help break certain insect and disease cycles and to improve soil fertility.  Be sure to get out and see the full harvest moon tonight.
Harvest Moon

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Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (