Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

Mixed greens and beets thrive in these autumn days.
Fair weather made for a beautiful weekend at the Pumpkin Festival on October 8.  Cloudy skies moved in for much of the past week, however, dropping a slow, soaking rain that was just perfect for sprouting the red clover seed scattered the week before.  While we want that section to turn green, we do not want all the weed seedlings coming up with our fall/winter/spring garden; a quick run-over with the tiller set at shallow depth on a sunny day did most of them in.  Among our lettuce, beets, and other cool weather crops some selective hand weeding cleared the area.

'Northern Lights' swiss chard
It looks like we will be enjoying a nice crop of ‘Northern Lights’ swiss chard by first frost.  Chard is a variety of beet that does not grow an edible root but that makes an exceptionally large top:  leaves are often cooked like spinach, and stalks steamed like asparagus.  Chard is grown where conditions do not favor spinach.  We have enough spinach from last April in the freezer to last until March, so we’re just trying something different.

Cabbage plants have grown large and are making heads; brussels sprouts are adding height—sprouts are now the size of small peas in the nook of each leaf stem.

Cabbage heads are starting to form.
October is time to plant spring bulbs; last year we added hyacinth, muscari, crocus, and more than 200 daffodils to naturalize around the property.  This year we bought 100 Darwin hybrid tulips for the bed around our mailbox.  A past home owner installed weed barrier and filled the area with decorative stone.  All of that had to come out, and we excavated an 8-inch pit, which was no easy task:  if we ever do this again we will invest in a pick-axe!  Good soil mixed with milled sphagnum peat moss and bone meal was returned, and the bulbs topped with loose topsoil and pine bark mulch.  Tulips need several weeks of freezing temperatures to bloom, but our location at 934 ft. elevation is always cooler than town; we’ve already seen rooftop frost.

Our world is taking on a golden hue as deciduous trees move from early to mid-season color.  Pretty soon we’ll be getting out the leaf rake!

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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 (