Thursday, October 6, 2011

Taking in the End

Now is the time to take in the view as shortly it will all be gone. Flowers, colorful leaves, seed heads black with promises, greenery. In one fell swoop the killing frost will steal our color palette leaving us with browns and grays for the long winter. No more blue sky morning glories with sleeping bumbles.
No more lustful aroma of the come hither Snail Vine.

No more red. No more red tomatoes to be eaten in the yard. No more figs full of sweetness.

Time to collect the Amaranth. Time to make pesto

Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy and prepare. I've started some new beds of various plans. I have 2 beds in the orchard dedicated to Winter Rye. Between the shade of the orchard trees, the dogs and the chickens all of the grass is gone. I'm not necessarily sad. The Winter Rye will have many roles. 1. It is a green manure so I've planted an oval bed around 3 fruit trees so in spring the greens can be turned into the soil and nourish the fruit trees. 2. The greens will either be eaten as much needed greens by the chickens in the spring/late winter or if having gone to seed. Either way, it is a cheap and nourishing food for the chickens as well. 3. Something we don't tend to think about is that plants are part of the food web for underground life (beneficial bacteria, fungi, invertebrate soil life) and having greenery above ground means there is food or habitat below ground. This may be one of our major mistakes in agriculture- leaving a field fallow. What happens to the soil life when there is no green above? Where do we ever seen fallow land in nature? Perhaps after a flood or volcano, but this doesn't last long. Nature abhors a vacuum. I'm amending the soil and thereby the life below. Feed your soil. I'm also running an experiment as one rye bed will be covered with plastic and the other not. Here is the one that will not be covered:
Two other beds (one with burlap, the other with plastic) will be for winter crops- carrots and mixed greens. I made these super cheap and easy hoop houses out of plastic conduit. The purpose of the burlap is just to keep the chickens out for now.
Other things I need to do is establish a given spot for my new vegetable- the potato onion (also called multiplier onions). Since I eat onions on a daily basis and because once established I will never have to buy them again (talk about cheap food) I need to prepare the perfect bed for them. I ordered them from Territorial Seeds. You can't find these just everywhere. I'm not sure why they are such a secret, but I suspect the older generation is more than aware of their existence. They are defined as having a more gourmet flavor, much like shallots, which I love so I'm looking forward to the first harvest. This is what they look like:

Since it is my blog, I suppose I can deviate away from strictly gardening and talk about wild foraging too. My Aunt Kathy found these mushrooms and gave them to me. They are called Slippery Jack because of the slimy coating on the cap. They grow under evergreens and apparently my grandparents use to eat them. These shrooms are in the bolete family. Instead of gills they are polypored underneath. I'm thinking about a mushroom barley soup tonight. These guys are a little dry, but I have fresher ones and these will rehydrate easily.

A few more pictorial documents below of life in the garden in early October: 
Baby Kale coming up.

Cotton plant! Just for something fun.

One of my assistant soil preppers- Scarlet.

That is all for today. Must get out and enjoy this ridiculously gorgeous weather we've had for weeks on end now. 

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