Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Gold Moon

Sorry this post is a couple of days late. The full moon was actually Sept. 30. I think traditionally this moon is called the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox. It's just not very gold out there right now, it's mostly very green. We got lots of rain in September, about 5 inches, so everything is looking very lush and green out there. The weather has cooled down so we're having highs in the low 80's and lows in the low 60's.

The garlic is starting to sprout, but so are a lot of rain lilies that are in the bed with them, so it's a little hard to tell what is what. I planted the garlic in the last bed on the end, which is very close to some oak trees, so I hope that wasn't a bad move. I think after I harvest the garlic next summer I'm going to abandon that bed. Hopefully by then I'll have the old shed taken down and that prime sunny area it's now taking up made into more garden space. (We plan on rebuilding a new shed in the shade.)

I also haven't gotten around to mulching the garlic yet. It's probably OK for now since we've gotten a lot of rain and it's not cold yet, but it's on my to-do list.

The Red Giant mustard is growing bigger, but it's still not very red. Does it need cold weather to get red? You can see some more rain lilies coming up there too. They're so pretty, I just don't have the heart to pull them out. They're hard to pull out anyway because of the bulb.

I've also planted some arugula, which you can see here with another wildflower, purple wood-sorrel  growing up among it. That's another "weed" I don't like to pull up. It gets pretty purple flowers on it and the leaves are edible. A whole bunch started coming up in the yard after the rain.

I also planted kale, chard, and dill plants which have also settled in nicely. Still left to plant are parsley, cilantro, and celery.

The beets are just starting to sprout as well. Don't see any carrot sprouts yet. This year I also planted leek and onion seeds directly in the ground instead of trying to transplant them like I've done before. No sprouts of them yet.

The fall tomatoes are doing OK but still pretty small. I don't know if they'll have time to set a crop of tomatoes before frost. Maybe fall tomatoes just aren't worth it.

The tomatoes that survived the summer aren't looking much better than the fall-planted ones. Still no fruit being set. Maybe in the future I should concentrate my efforts on getting a good tomato harvest in the spring and summer, and just accept that there will be no more fresh tomatoes after July or so.

The basil is doing great. I think I should plant basil earlier next year so I'll have some to harvest earlier in the year (like when I have tomatoes!), but no problem with getting a fall harvest of basil too. The only problem I'm having is pinching off the flowers on the varieties I'm not saving seed from this year fast enough to keep them from cross pollinating with the variety I am saving seed from this year.

Well, another problem is figuring out what to do with so much Cinnamon Basil. I've found a few recipes for it, but most of the time when I do a search for "cinnamon basil recipes", I get recipes that have both cinnamon and basil in them but not Cinnamon Basil.

The luffa gourds are another summer survivor that I'm not sure are going to do anything before frost. I wonder if they are in too much shade? They're on the extreme other end of the garden from the garlic. They have grown up into the Ashe juniper tree that shades them on that side, but even the part that's up there isn't setting any fruit.

The hot peppers are putting out a second crop, but disappointingly the bell peppers haven't. The plants look fine, but no peppers. I feel like I'm up to my eyeballs in hot peppers already, but it would be nice to have some more bells before frost.

The leeks I planted in spring are still there, and I still think that's weird. They still haven't bolted or made any bulbs. They've just sat there all through the summer. I was going to try either saving seeds or bulbs from them but they haven't made either. I think this week I'll try cooking with some and seeing if they're at least edible. I keep thinking they're probably tough or bad-tasting by now, but maybe not.

Lastly, the Austrian Winter Peas I planted as a cover crop in the bed I plan on planting potatoes in are growing nicely, with all the rain. The idea is for them to fix nitrogen in the bed before I plant nitrogen-loving potatoes in there in January or February.

Which reminds me, I still need to plant my edible peas and fava beans, but I've run out of room. This is why I'm a bit annoyed with my tomatoes, bell peppers, and luffa gourds right now. They're taking up valuable garden room, as it becomes increasingly doubtful I'm going to get anything more out of them this year. I wonder if I should go ahead and yank any of them up, or if I should wait until they freeze to death before I plant my peas. Except that might delay the pea harvest, and I'm really looking forward to some delicious, fresh homegrown peas. This winter I want to grow enough peas to freeze some for later.

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