Saturday, October 15, 2016

Welcome Fall

I have been farming all of my life, I helped my parents from the time I was able to move about in the garden learning to pick the red tomatoes and the filled beans but I have never seen a season like this summer.

It started for me in the early spring, there were lots of bedding plants growing and just about ready to plant in the garden.  We had moved a number into the unheated greenhouse and boom, it was cold, so cold the plants were stunted.  Now the largest part of bedding plants were not going to be productive and it was much too late to start over.  My pepper plants were installed and again we took another drop in the temperature.  Peppers, being a tropical, were not going to do well and maybe there would not be a harvest.  I had started the plants and I thought I may as well give them a try.  Some plants dropped off as soon as they were installed in the garden only to be replanted.  Cool nights are not good for the peppers, as the few that did begin to grow also began  to show signs of struggling.  I always say each year brings it's own challenges but this past summer was the most challenging I have ever experienced.

We did mange to can green beans, harvest lots of garlic and finally, the peppers are producing.  I have some nice castor bean plants but I am not sure they are helping with the mole problem as they seem to continue to burrow in the garden.  I did not loose as many onions to the moles this past season but they have taken their toll on my crops.  Green beans plants had their roots eaten, I tried a new way to plant my sweet potatoes at this time I have not dug them because I put the crop in late.  The plants do look good and I am hoping I will at least have a few to start next years crop.  The strawberries have been consumed by the moles and I may not replant them, with some things I am starting to accept defeat.

We have had lots to eat from the garden so this year was not a total waste of my time.  I have cucumber pickles and relishes for the winter,  Lots of winter squash, the  spinach, as always, produced and I have harvested an egg plant which was enjoyed.  I planted dent corn and we harvested enough to save our seeds and I plan to mill enough to make one pan of red dent cornbread.  The winter squash harvest was good and there will be some for the chickens, goats and the humans.
This is a new variety for our farm.  

All in all, even with this being a difficult growing season we were rewarded for the work we put it and will have some veggies to enjoy this winter.   I will be working in the garden next month, time to plant the garlic and plant the tunnel for the winter.

We now have 17 chickens,  sad to have to say this but one of the older girls decided it was time to leave us and she was buried in the garden.  Three of our pullets have moved to a new home and that gets me where I am happy with the number of chickens we shall be wintering.  There are 8 pullets who will be laying all winter along with 2 of the ducks.  The 11 older hens have already gone on vacation and I hope they return from camp beginning in February.

This winter, Belle with her 2 babies will be in the goat barn, the little ones are growing, time had come for the little buck to be banded and that process has just about disappeared.  Today, September 30th, the chimney sweep came and now, if we need to have a fire in the wood stove we know it is clean and ready to keep us warm.  Why it seems only yesterday we were putting in spring crops and now we will be digging our tomato hills, squash hills and opening corn rows from next summer.  They will be filled with manure and covered over with our good earth, mulched and waiting their crops to be planted next spring.

I have seen some of the largest acorns in the woods and the mushrooms are coming up everywhere.  Time for me to head to the woods and learn more about this wonderful place I call home.