Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Meyer lemon tree ripens fruit.
It's about time to pull up those old summer border flowers and replace them with chrysanthemums and pansies.  Wild garlic is starting to sprout after its summer hibernation underground; its tell-tale aroma is noticeable when mowing the lawn.  That means any time now we could plant the largest of our hardneck garlic cloves saved from May's harvest, to grow through the winter.  Last year, we didn't plant our garlic until late October, and we're determined to get an earlier start.  The pumpkins have to come out first, however, to make room, and that's a chore - vines have spread everywhere and are setting new fruits.  Did you know that tender green pumpkins can be eaten just like zucchini?
Gladiolus bulbs harvested and curing
for winter storage.

As soon as our summer vegetable patch can be tilled, we will be broadcasting several pounds of red clover seed purchased from the local feed and seed store.  If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know that red clover is our favorite green manure crop because it converts nitrogen from the air and stores it, boosting both soil nutrition and adding plenty of organic humus.

Cabbage and broccoli have taken off, growing to mature size.  Tiny button heads of broccoli are visible in the crown of each plant.  Depending on how much moisture we see in the coming weeks, it won't be long.  Brussels sprouts take 120 days to harvest, longer than many pumpkins; transplanted in August, they won't begin to produce until December.

Broccoli and cabbage plants.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Apples turned into tempting treats as the first day of Autumn approaches.
This was garden clean-up week:  tomato vines and their cages uprooted, bean plants pulled, pruners lost in the rubble, wheelbarrow run a marathon, compost bin more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey!  The whole family was involved.  Our gigantic pile of sticks is reduced to ashes over the barren garden, helping to clean the slate on stubborn grasses waging war to win back the land we are trying to transform.

Giant grey striped sunflower seed head.
A very few vegetables remain, some carrots, bell peppers, and all the winter squashes; sunflower seeds are ready to be harvested and roasted, or left for the birds.  Our fall garden is progressing nicely as cabbage and broccoli plants stretch out to fill the empty spaces between.

Day and night are now nearly 12 hours each as the impending equinox changes the calendar officially to the autumn season.  The sun is rising due east and is setting due west.  Our myrtle trees are already coloring up and dropping their leaves, while dogwood and red maple are showing noticeable tint.  It's time to sit back with a glass of fresh apple cider and take in the wonder of God's creation.  Soon enough we'll be pulling jars of canned produce out of the pantry to supplement what little fresh we can find as the weeks get colder.

Cabbages (top row), broccoli (middle), and brussels sprouts.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage mulched
with fresh lawn trimmings.
One valuable item our property is producing with wild abandon in these early days of a wet September is grass - a whole acre of it!  For once we have much more than we need to mulch our new cole crops, which are coming along very nicely after transplanting.  We have a lot of dry, brown carbon materials in our compost bin right now, so the wet green nitrogen in grass will be a perfect combination to help boost our compost output.

Red bell peppers finish ripening.
We are very close to the end of our summer vegetable patch.  All summer long we have been gathering fallen sticks, prunings and trimmings in a big brush pile 10 ft. long x 5 ft. wide x 5 ft. high.  If we get a dry week, we will move it to the garden and burn - removing and killing surface weed seeds, and adding potash to the soil.  Next month we will plant red clover in anticipation of rotating our corn crop over where the vegetable garden was this year.

The garden in September.  A large Prizewinner pumpkin matures in the top-right corner.

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

Dozens of pumpkins, small and large, are now on display in our front yard.
August 31st's Blue Moon.
Harvest home.  The first of September (the start of meteorological autumn) dawned clear and golden after the previous night's Blue Moon.  Despite the subtle change of season, afternoon temperatures have crept back up to the low 90's F, while mornings are cool and dewy.  If the coming winter brings as many snows as we had fogs in August, we might see 5 winter weather advisories (this little bit of folklore will be interesting to test this year, knowing the Farmer's Almanac forecast for a colder and wetter than normal winter).

Warm, sunny days are great for our favorite harvest of the year: pumpkins!  We filled the wheelbarrow several times making trips from the pumpkin patch to our front yard where dozens of the orange fruits sit on display until we are ready to use them in culinary treats.  According to research on the topic, pumpkin seeds are more nutritious than the fruit's meaty orange flesh, but because of its low-calorie value and high concentration of vitamins like beta-carotene, this flavorful food is an all-around winner.  Our largest pumpkin (a 'Prizewinner' variety) is still ripening on the vine and will be moved up in a few weeks.
This funny-looking gourd (center) is actually
a winter squash of the 'Cucurbita moschata' family.

Our local apple harvest has finished; our fourth-year trees are still juveniles with many hopeful years of bigger and more abundant harvests.  'Heritage' red raspberries are producing heavily.  Tomato vines and pepper plants are still setting fruit, and we are pulling more carrots to supplement meals as just about everything else has finished.  Green beans on the bush now are being saved for seed.

Happy Labor Day y'all!

Fouth-year apple tree well branched and finished with harvest,
catches some morning rays in front of the pumpkin patch.

About Me

My photo
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 (