Posted on September 14th, 2011 No comments
It was -6 C when I got up this morning and the gardens looked like it had snowed over night. I spent yesterday in preparation which meant picking off all the remaining apples (6 large boxes), and all the ripe tomatoes.
I then covered everything in the greenhouse, placing a barrel of water in the middle of each bed and covering it over with a tarp. This works. The zucchini which I didn’t cover in the greenhouse is black this morning, but the tomatoes, peppers and event the cucumbers under the tarps are just fine. But that’s in the greenhouse. The squash and beets I covered outside with a tarp are badly frostbitten and everything else outside, for the most part, is toast. Since the weather is supposed to get warm again I was hoping to get a few more weeks, but -6 is not a light frost. I covered the beets because this batch of chickens likes beet greens. Had I known that I would have been giving them some all along, but I just discovered this a few days ago.
First frost on the flowers
Posted on September 12th, 2011 No comments
Since the last post the temperatures have been a hot +30 to +32 everyday and this was getting hard to take so I’m glad today was cool, dramatically so in comparison. I picked the plums off because tomorrow I will be busy getting ready for a hard frost predicted. Bumper crop of plums for the first time ever so my pollinating trick this spring worked nicely.
Even though it’s been hot and dry there still isn’t much seed to pick but I have collected some from the sweet peas. I hope frost doesn’t hurt unripened seeds because last year there were no sweet pea seeds and this year I think every blossom made a pod. Some of the holly hocks are making seed except for the double pink and my one yellow one which is disappointing. Maybe if I cover it I can give it more time.
It’s been difficult finding enough lush (and shady) spots for the chickens to day camp on.
Posted on September 4th, 2011 No comments
The harvest around our area began in earnest last week, but with a rain the day before yesterday most guys are stopped again waiting for the swaths to dry out. This shouldn’t be a problem with 28-30C forecast for all of this week. But that also means I won’t be doing a lot outside once the day gets hot. The rain we got amounted to only about 1/2 inch, so I’ll likely be at the watering again in a day or so for the few things that still need some season to ripen or to produce seed. I also will water the perennials as they need it so the roots stay healthy before winter.
Today however (Sunday) is a perfect 21C so I managed to clean out the chicken coop (which is easy this time of year because they hardly go inside except to sleep, thus the litter is minimal), and I deadheaded the sea holly even though it’s still quite pretty. They go to seed at different stages and I don’t want any more of it getting started than I already have.
Yesterday was mostly a mowing day, but I picked off most of the small cucumbers which today are salted and ready for making bread and butter pickles. I also had too many ripe tomatoes on hand, and decided that since I have enough salsa that these ones were destined for something different, so I’m doing an experiment with canned tomato/squash soup.
Our beautiful patch of corn is mostly ‘only’ beautiful… it’s not producing anything for corn. The cobs are small, tough and have very little sweetness, so it looks like after we pick and choose what we’ll eat for meals the chickens will be having lots of fresh corn this year. They will be very happy about that.
The apples in the orchard are beginning to ripen and will need to be picked this week. This year we are hoping to bag and lower some of them part way down our old well in order to keep them cold enough to last. This will be another experiment.
It was cold enough in our yard last night to give the squash a touch of frost bite. Everything in the greenhouse, which is left wide open this time of year, is ok, but squash has zero tolerance for cold so it must have gotten below the 5C that was forecast.