Monday, August 13, 2012

Fall Gardening

It's time to start thinking about fall gardening around here.  We cleared a lot of things out of the garden over the weekend and planted some "summer 2" crops.  We stay warm long enough here to be able to plant most spring crops a second time.  We're mostly sticking to squash and green beans for that.  In another month, it will be time to put in fall plants, so we have to leave room for those too.

The front bed here used to be all of our bell peppers.  We picked the last of the peppers, and planted the entire bed with summer squash.  The second bed is our hugelkultur bed.  It's really flattened out since the spring when we first planted it.  It did work as planned and was more water efficient than the other beds.  We tried not watering it at all, though and it's not quite THAT efficient.  In the heat of summer, with limited rainfall, it probably needs to be watered about half as often as the other beds.  The decaying wood in the middle holds a lot of water so infrequent, heavy watering is ideal. Here, we cleared out the old bean plants and replanted more green beans.  The giant plants behind that is all our okra.  We haven't been harvesting that as regularly as we should, so there are a lot of pods that will have to go to seed there. 

On the other side of the garden, we have a lot of clear space waiting to be planted.  The first bed is our strawberries, which we plan to nurse through the winter.  They have put out a lot of shoots and put down roots, so they should produce well next year.  The other beds are empty and mostly waiting for broccoli planting time.

In the back of the garden, we have cantaloupe plants growing.  We have never been successful at growing melons, so we were very happy to get this one! We made slings out of old pantyhose and hung them from stakes so the melons can hang in there rather than sitting on the ground.  This is virtually eliminated bug and rot problems.  I'm a little nervous about cutting into it, I sure hope it's ripe!  I've read they're ready when they "slip" off the vine (separate from stem with just gentle pressure to the side of the stem) and smell sweet.  That's the case with this melon, so there's hope!

We also picked a lot of jalapenos yesterday and Josh made up a few pints of bread and butter jalapenos.  You make them just like bread and butter pickles, only you use peppers instead of cucumbers. 

Last, but not least, our most exciting event of the weekend.  We got our first blue egg!!!  We have a few ameraucana chickens (also called easter egg chickens).  We think one of them is laying light pink eggs, which just kind of blend in with the brown eggs.  Over the weekend, we got our first blue egg though.  We were excited to find out at least one chicken will be laying blue eggs!

We have harvested 108 pounds of produce from our garden so far this year.  I think there's a pretty good chance we'll reach our 150 pound goal for the year!  You can see the full tally at the garden totals page, if you're interested.

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