OUR FARM THIS FALL

It’s been a hot, dry October.  Odd to watch the leaves being blown off the trees by such balmy breezes.   But fall is fall — and that means crazed squirrel time.  Winter is coming, and there are things to do before the ground freezes.

With Doug teaching biology at UW-Platteville this semester, we are squeezing in land work where we can, and we  have our third crop of 2010 underway in our greenhouse.

This spring we planted spinach, kale, chard, and carrots while it was still snowing outside.  Then as the greenhouse temperatures got a little high for them, we planted tomatoes in the greenhouse.  And because we had extra seedlings, we planted 7 of them outside where our garden is planned.

The tomatoes outside soon took off and  started to load up with green fruit.  Then suddenly some form of tomato-loving wildlife noticed they were there.  All seven were eaten right down to the nubs and never really recovered.

...Feed me, Seymour!

Our pampered greenhouse darlings came on gangbusters.  I realized a little late that I should have started pruning them from the start.  At first it was mesmerizing to watch them grow so fast, and by the time I took on pruning patrol, I could never really get ahead of the game.

For all that luxurious foliage, the tomato production wasn’t great.  We have had a handful each time we came out to water, but not enough to put up.

We chose indeterminate tomato varieties to see just how long they would keep growing in the greenhouse, but as they weren’t producing much, we cut down three and have kept just one going as an experiment to see how long it will keep producing ripe fruit.

The rest of the beds are given over to greens again, with three herbs, rosemary, sage and oregano that we impulse purchased at the farmer’s market two weekends ago.

Everything is off to a good start, although something has been nibbling some of the spinach in its very early stages.  It seems that if it can get about 2 inches tall, it’s no longer such a treat.

...Toothbrush for size reference. We've actually already enjoyed a tiny salad!

Outside we are expanding the area where we grew tomatoes but realize we will have to fence it before we plant more vegetables.  This fall we have tilled part of it, mixed in our composted horse manure, sown it with winter rye.  In the spring, we will turn that in and plant it all in edamame beans, which will add nitrogen to the soil, become green manure and hopefully produce a delicious crop.

..moving manure

We don’t expect to have time to fence till the following spring after at least one more green manure crops, when the garden soil should be feeling frisky and ready to go to work.

Our last garden task, which we will undertake this weekend, is to deal with the greenhouse outside door.  We had hoped to mount the door we found at a barn sale and have carefully restored, but we will probably have to seal it with plastic one more winter.  The temperature is threatening to drop, and we hope to be eating our greens and herbs for months to come.

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