Monday, November 22, 2010

Full Hunter's Moon

November's full moon is the Hunter's Moon, and I have seen some amorous bucks around the neighborhood chasing does, and more sadly, a lot of dead deer along the roads. Though I'll probably never hunt myself, I certainly have no problem who do it to put meat on the table, with the side effect of keeping their numbers down a bit. (Of course, the reason there's too many deer to begin with is that we wiped out their natural predators, but I guess that damage is done.) Getting shot and killed instantly by a skilled hunter also seems  a much more humane way to go than starving or getting smashed by a car.

I'm still surprised that the neighborhood deer have yet to find my garden. It may only be a matter of time, but I do live right next door to some very loud dogs. I wonder if they keep the deer away, or if I've just been lucky.

We had a close call a few days ago with a freeze warning for the Hill Country, but it didn't quite freeze here. Those few degrees can make a big difference. Last year we got our first freeze on December 5, so I'm guessing it's likely that by the next full moon my squash, jalapenos, okra, and sweet potatoes will be gone.

I must admit I'm actually looking forward to a freeze to clear out some of these old summer crops. The okra is still chugging away, but is heavily infested with aphids. I wonder if the cool weather has weakened it. Aphids usually only attack weak plants, and okra prefers warm weather.

The squash vine borers are still attacking my squash. Those things just don't quit, do they? I've thrown away several fruits that borers tunneled into, but fortunately I still have a lot of fruits that still look good.

Here are three squashes I just harvested. Their sections of vine had died, and their stems were turning brown, so I figured they'd grown all they are going to be able to. I hope that was long enough, because they're quite a bit smaller than the first two I've harvested.

The sweet potatoes are still getting seriously chomped by grasshoppers, but they don't seem to mind that much. They're still growing vigorously. I'm getting anxious to find out if they've got some good roots under there, but I really should give them as long as possible, which means waiting until right before our first freeze to dig them up.

The fall planting of regular potatoes haven't done nearly as well. Maybe they did bake under there, because I've only got three plants. I may just give up and pull them and use this valuable garden real estate for cabbage or something.
The jalapenos are doing great. I've already made one batch of jalapeno jelly (yum!), and probably have enough for another batch or two. I've got some more starting to turn red, so I'd better hurry up with that.
Mainly I've got lots of fall planting going on. Here is my lettuce mix. Something's been chomping on them, and I'm not sure what. I suspect snails are the culprit. Whatever it is seems to prefer the red ones to the green ones too. Weird. I'm not too worried, though. I've got plenty more.

These are fava beans, something new for me. I've never even eaten fava beans (aka broad beans), but I got some seed in a trade. They're supposed to be very cold hardy and able to grow through the winter here, so that sounds good to me. So far they're germinating very well. They look kind of like big peas.

My actual peas planted along the fence are coming up nicely too. This winter I'm going to try growing enough peas to freeze a bunch to enjoy the rest of the year.

The I'itois onions, though I planted them kind of late, are doing fine too, coming up in little clumps of leaves.

A lot of my garlic varieties are growing well, though there's a lot of variation between varieties. The hardnecks really seem to take a longer time to sprout than the softnecks.
I planted another row of leeks, while the first row is doing great.

Broccoli and cauliflower have been put in the ground. Something's nibbled them a little, but I think they'll recover. I've never grown broccoli or cauliflower successfully, but I'll keep trying.

Still got a lot of plants waiting for their turn to go in the ground, including cabbage, chard, kale, collards, and celery. Fall is turning out to be just as busy a planting time as spring. I haven't even started on my root crops yet. I've got seed for carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, and rutabagas still waiting in my seed box.

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