September 24, 2015
The cold has come creeping down the mountains at night lately, despite gorgeous September days of warmth and sunshine. Everything is beginning to look a little tired. And so it should…this has been a remarkably good growing year for us with hot hot summer days and little rain. I have had to spend a lot of time moving sprinklers around…but no matter. We are reaping the benefits of all that tedious work.
nine years growing the same garlic, and replanting it…these are the biggest heads yet
Roots ~ We harvested a small amount of potatoes as we have really scaled back on eating them…they have shown us that it is very difficult for a diabetic to maintain steady blood sugars if potatoes are eaten. So we stopped growing most of them. And I must say, we don’t miss them. We enjoyed a fantastic garlic year…I wonder if it was because rather than drip irrigating, I hand watered. Our summer carrots and beets were eaten rather quickly, but I planted our fall crop weeks ago and they are just about to mature now. Sadly, it was a crummy year for our onions ~ I think they got lost in the shade of our enormous cabbages. Oh, and we have some of the best leeks I have ever grown. Already they are in earthen buckets in our root cellar.
Leaves ~ The kids and I scattered more lettuce seeds in the big garden for a fall crop. I also put our cold frame over them and I’m just starting to need it at night now. Honestly, how did I manage gardening for so many years without a cold frame? I have a small fall crop of rainbow chard, too and I’m just realizing now that I forgot to plant a spinach crop (oops)! Luckily, we are eating lots of beet greens right now with our salads.
Flowers ~ There are so many flowers still to be picked…the dahlias keep producing amazing bouquets, the zinnias are showing no signs of slowing, despite the cooler evening temperatures, and the sunflowers are nodding away against the blue skies. My dye garden has been neglected this season only because I don’t have any spun wool to dye with. I hope this winter I will spin up several skeins to have on hand next summer for all the indigo, hollyhocks, tickseed, marigolds that I grow.
our first harvest of homegrown pears ~ so delightful in all their imperfections
Fruit ~ This is truly the season of fruit, though. I have already canned enough pears, peaches and jams to last us until next summer, but I have hardly begun the applesauce-ing I had hoped to do. I always seem to lose my momentum this time of year and I have not put enough applesauce by to last us more than a few months. Sunshine and I harvested our Three Sister’s garden today (the boys were too busy with their slingshots and bows). We had such fun finding treasures beneath the tangle of leaves…
It was a slightly disappointing amount of gourds, but I have to remember that I rarely watered this garden and it was so very hot this summer. Next year we will hopefully have some soaker hoses on the pumpkin patch.
Our greenhouse is pumping out the tomatoes and inside the house I am losing more and more surfaces to ripening tomatoes. They are so cheery, though, sitting here, there, and everywhere…
Our house is quite overtaken by the garden just now…in addition to tomatoes, there are boxes of plums on the porch, several sunflower heads drying for birdseed feeders in winter, various flowers drying for winter bouquets, and herbs everywhere. Currently we have basil, dill, sage and catnip hanging near the cookstove.
I am also trying to save as many of our own seeds as I can, as it really cuts the costs from purchasing new packets every year.
The kids like to help fill the envelopes, too. I am so amazed at the amount of help I am getting from all three of them in the gardens. Just a little bit here and there goes a long way to easing my chore list, and their confidence grows in an almost visible way. I like to hear them talk about their own beds next year and what plants they want to grow again, and those new varieties they’d like to try. They all eagerly like to look at seed catalogues and find the ones with the most interesting names. I think my gardening heart might burst with pride, but then this happened…
My three kids took several items to the local Fall Fair last weekend and brought home a total of 8 ribbons! In the above photo, you can see why Huckely won for largest sunflower head and Forrest nearly won for tallest sunflower. They already have grand plans for next year’s Fall Fair, including making their own wood working to sell.
By no means is the garden season over…we still have a lot of tidying up to do and putting things to bed…not to mention canning all those apples and tomatoes!