October 29, 2012

Gutters and Hoop Houses

written by Yvonne

This past weekend was likely the last mild weekend before the cold comes.  It was BEAUTIFUL weather to be outside and we got a lot of work done.

This isn't garden related but it was pretty ingenious so we thought we'd share it. The gutters have needed cleaning oh... since we moved in three and a half years ago. On our annual Fall drive through the country to get pumpkins and apples I happened to see a guy cleaning his gutters using a leaf blower.  He had a long tube attached to the blower and, while standing on the ground (not on a ladder), he was blowing leaves out of the gutters.  We did some YouTube research and Tom came up with a similar contraption.  He took two pieces of gutter (the part that runs down the side of the house) and slipped them over the end of the leaf blower and volia!  Gutters cleaned of leaves!

Now, onto garden news.

This is beans and okra.  I harvested the last few pods of okra and pulled the plants up.  I'll keep the beans in for a little while longer, hoping they'll recover from being eaten buy bugs.  They are putting out beans, but the leaves are decimated.  In a few weeks, we'll pull these out as well and plant rye grass.  Each year we are rotating which bed gets planted with rye grass.  Last year, it was bed 1, this year it's bed 2.  Doing this takes that particular bed out of fall/winter planting, but it adds back much needed nutrients so it will be ready for the next season.

Turnips are taking off...

but the carrots and beets are taking their time.

This looks like a mess because of the leaves, but all the green is actually garlic.

Cabbage (on the left side of the bed) is doing great.  I suspect we'll have to thin them out pretty soon because they get HUGE.

Wanna see something super cool?  The first lettuce photo below is dated 10/15.  The second is dated 10/29.  In two-weeks time the lettuce went from sprouts to a full out!

As such, we had our first salad of the season with dinner last night and had enough for lunch today.

We let bed #4 go to weeds during the last half of summer.  Now it's time to dig it all out and prepare it for planting.

I pulled out the cowpeas (much to Tom's disappointment)...

and cleared the whole thing of weeds.  Once the weeds were gone, it became evident that this bed needs more dirt so we'll have to wait another week or so to plant anything until more dirt is added.  We're WAY too late for planting more fall crops (of course) but we'll throw seed down anyway because our winters are fairly mild and we should be able to get collards, spinach and squash growing through the winter.  In the very front corner of the bed, you can see a splotch of green - this was a bit of parsley still hanging on that I dug out from the weeds.  I left it in so it can thrive.

This week the temps will be dropping into the high-to-mid 30s so it's time to get the hoop houses up so we don't loose anything.

This morning I pulled out all hoop house pieces so we could take an inventory and get anything else needed to get all three beds full coverage.

Many of the plastic C clamps broke off when I put the hoop in so when Tom goes to Lowe's tonight, he's going to investigate other clamps that may tolerate weather better.

October 23, 2012

Short and sweet

written by Yvonne

Not a whole lot to report, but our fall garden is getting a very good start.

We are gonna have a TON of lettuce. Salads for everyone!

Cabbage is coming up as well.

Garlic took off right away.

Carrots slow but coming up.

Turnips are sprouting as are the beets. However, the beets aren't moving as fast as the turnips.

October 3, 2012

Make way for Fall

written by Yvonne

We're a few weeks behind schedule to get our Fall/Winter garden in the ground, but all things considered that's not too bad.  Last week, Tom got one bed cleared out, now it was my turn to clear one out. It was a big pain to cut the tomato limbs from the growing spirals, but I stayed at it until I freed the spirals completely.

All the tomato plants were ready for the compost pile.

It's tough to pull plants out when there are still lots of tomatoes on the vines, but ya gotta do it if you're going to get the next season's seeds down. Maybe when we add another bed or two we'll have enough space to keep some things going while starting the next season's seeds.

The jelly bean tomatoes are fun to eat but man were they a pain to pick out of the soil, one by one.

Eventually, I got everything out of bed #1 and then measured out space for garlic, carrots, beets and turnips.

The garlic comes in bulbs so I had to separate them into individual cloves.

Into the compost went the tomatoes.  On Sunday we were able to sow cabbage and 6 types of lettuce in bed #3.

Before I started pulling out items, Tom went through and did a real thorough harvest.  He pulled up all the marjoram and a big bunch of basil.  The orka plants are still in the ground but he harvested some that was ready to eat.

A lot of the tomatoes were very green and he promised me a southern meal of fried green tomatoes and orka. Hopefully, that'll happen this week.

Last little beauties for the year.

More cow peas.

He harvestest two window sills worth of partially ripe tomatoes...

as well as a ton of green tomatoes....

and a colander full of jelly bean tomatoes.

And with some of that, he made us lunch!