Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August Hate- An Annual Tradition

I've noticed a theme developing. I hate my garden come late August. I looked back to last year's August post and I have the very same thoughts today. Synopsis: the garden was fine and then we got a lot of rain and the weeds and mosquitoes took over and I don't want to be in it. (3rd wettest July in recorded history btw)

I wore long pants, a flannel shirt with collar up and clogs to do a wee bit of gardening in this morning and still got swarmed in the face. I asked the hubs if I could borrow his bee veil yesterday. He asked why- to garden in, of course. This is a note to you, dear Laura, to lower your expectations of August. In fact, have none.
All this being said, the maters, peppers and eggplant are still producing, but the smartweed is smarter than I and conquers my world.

So, when August hell comes I turn to garden indoors. I have to get excited about something and that something is going to be Fall & Winter gardening. Each year I think I become more in love with Winter gardening. There are no weeds and no bugs and a lot fewer other yard chores to distract me. It's just simple. However, everything grows at a much slower pace, but the veggies are much sweeter. Trade-offs.

I need to keep better notes on when I start seeds for fall/winter plants. I thought I wrote something down when I started the first ones for this year, but now I can't seem to find the date. I believe it was the last week in July or first week in August. Regardless, the first flats have moved outside and under bug cloth.

From R to L: Bunching Onions, Nero Kale, Bright Lights Chard, 
Frilly Mustard (my fav), a lettuce mix and more frilly mustard. 

I started another couple of flats last night and ran out of potting mix. Ran to the store. Then I decided to do some more indoor-garden greens, as I remember having success with them in year's past. I used some old containers, fresh potting mix. The three below are: 2 lettuce mixes and 1 Siberian Dwarf Kale. Want to fill this entire shelf with fresh winter indoor greens.

Indoor winter green beds started today
Outdoor Prep
The spring/summer beds in the orchard were pretty much done. The perpetual chard had gone to seed, the kale had been eaten back to nubs, the ruby orach (don't grow again-same as Lamb's Quarter) seeded, so I weeded what needed and opened the bird netting to let the chickens do the rest of the work, which they got to scratching in no time. The free garden prep is nice considering the skeeter hell. I believe I have about 48 square feet to fill in orchard beds. The Minutina/ Erba Stella (a perennial, info here) has grown well all summer and now the leaves are a bit hairy, so I've decided to not eat it until winter. I tried it this summer and it was ok. Hoping it will sweeten with lowering temps. There is also some very small Good King Henry (also a perennial green) that made it under the shade of the Ruby Orach and 4 alpine strawberries in one bed. The soil needs to be raised a bit and then I will plant transplants in all of the beds once they are ready and the bugs and heat have subsided. Ideally I would like each of these beds to hold some perennial food that the chickens and I can enjoy. 

Garden inspired food stuff
Spinach, caramelized onion, brie
and roasted tom, basil, brie pizzas

 Chinese Eggplant, Frying Pepper and Tofu stir fry.
 Tomato, Red Onion, Olive, Mint over Polenta cubes
 Left: Roasted beans over polenta cubes

Putting Up or By
I haven't canned anything yet. Only froze a couple of bags of maters. Bought a dozen ears of corn from the local farm yesterday. Froze 6 ears. Peaches in at the farm- fresh eating only.
I really need to get on canning some tomatoes and freezing eggplant before things get away from me. Oh, and clean out the freezer from last year's put ups. 

Loathing and embracing August hell. Happy Gardening, L