We’ve been harvesting tomatoes left and right. We’ve gotten a little bit of zucchini. It’s funny how you plan for the year and things just grow how they want, with no regard for your planning. Last year I was overrun with zucchini and yellow squash, so this year I grew one plant of each. They have not done well, so I’ve gotten 2 zucchini and it’s already October. With the amounts of rain we had this year (and it’s not done) the garden has been a little hit or miss for some things. Here are some newer pics of our garden:
The garden is starting to wind down a bit. We still have a lot of stuff to harvest, but most of it will be ok if we get frost. Carrots and beets are still getting larger, and I have some Kale to pick. We also have peas and beans, but I’m letting those dry on the vines. I’m hoping I get enough peas to make a little bit of pea soup. I usually don’t let them go that long (they are so yummy picked earlier) but I want to give it a try.
Fall is definitely here. We’ve had lower temps – 50s and 60s. We got a touch of frost – I saw some on the grass one morning. But I think my house is in a bit of a microclimate – in our town there was a hard frost at the end of September, where you had to scrape frost off your windows. We didn’t get that here – I’m only about 12 miles outside of town, but the way our property is situated we sometimes are spared from the frost. I was worried things would die, so when we got the hard-frost warnings, I harvested everything in the gardens that was anywhere near being ready. I didn’t worry about things that can deal with frost, like Kale. And then nothing happened, my plants that were left out there are all still doing fine. Here’s a photo tour of how things are looking lately.
I’m debating on whether to pick everything out, and cover it all with compost now, or wait and do that all in the spring. Either way, the soil will have a layer of plants between it and the snow; I’ve read that is better for any mycelium networks (which are very helpful for your plants) – if you leave bare soil any beneficial mycelium that may be there can die, and you are depleting your soil. That is why people plant cover crops – I don’t really want to do that because we really don’t have time. Last year, we got snow at the beginning of November. I don’t think a cover crop would have time to sprout and grow. So I may just use my already-there crops as “cover crops”; then in spring, I’ll pile on compost, and till it all in. (I’ll still have to pull big stems out, like the old corn and sunflowers).
Our trees are very colorful – they had just started changing last week and then suddenly everything’s orange, red, and yellow (with a touch of green).
Most of my plants in the garden are on their way out for the winter. Most of my sunflowers are spent, and have seeds that the chickadees have been enjoying. I found this one that is a late bloomer. It’s really tall but it fell over so it’s laying on the ground:
My marigolds are still going strong. They are so pretty, I love the orange color of these:
Our apple trees are doing well. The biggest problem is that most of the good looking apples are way up on the tree. I’m planning on picking a bunch more this weekend. I picked a few several weeks ago and made apple butter. I’m planning on making some more (since it’s delicious) and also drying some apples for snacks.
One thing I planted this year, just to try, was Amaranth. I found out you can cook the seeds up kind of like rice. I would like to try it but they are not ready yet. The “flowers” are supposed to drop their seeds – you can test it by running the flowers in your hands, and if the seeds drop into your hand they are ready to pick. Mine are not there yet. But they look like they are on their way:
I got my hens some “chicken aprons” – they can wear them and it’s supposed to protect their backs from the roosters’ shenanigans. I had the roosters separated but it’s getting colder, and I was worried that if the roosters are separate, they can’t actually do their job of protecting the hens. So they are all together now. Most of my barer backed ladies are now wearing these aprons:
I also thought the aprons would help keep the hens a little warmer this winter. Some of my hens still have completely bare backs, and I was worried about winter because with no feathers there, they would be too exposed to the cold. They work pretty well, I do have a few hens that these seem a bit too big for. I ordered some standard size aprons from someone on Amazon. They do have some smaller ones, I may have to get some of those. Mine are all “standard” breeds but some are on the smallish side. I have a barred rock hen that these didn’t fit – it’s like the middle bit of the apron is too wide to fit between her shoulders, so she just kept getting tangled up in it. I only tried it on her for an hour or two, and then I had to take it off.
My escape artist chicken decided to pose today for me, I got some really nice pictures of her:
She doesn’t have a name except “Escape artist” because if anyone gets out, it is usually her. And she gets out almost every other day. She must fly out, but then she can’t fly back in for some reason so I have to catch her and put her back in the run. She sleeps in the rafters of the coop now, and she’s actually gotten one of her friends (my Cornish hen) to sleep up there with her.
Thanks for checking out my Fall farm pics. I do like fall, but it always leads to winter, which I’m not really looking forward to.