The end of summer has come and I'm mentally and emotionally ready for autumn, which is my favorite time of year, despite the fact that it means nearly non-stop rain and chill, and then three months of winter. There is something about flannel shirts and wood smoke and frosty mornings that I just dig.
I promised myself that I would re-roof the chicken coop before the rains start, so that is in progress. I tore off the tarps that I had up there; what didn't occur to me when I put them up is that they would not only protect the girls from the rain- they would also fill with water and sag. Last winter I had to go around and punch holes in them with a knife so they would drain and not bring down the roof, which rather defeated the purpose of the roof. I'm adding more rafters and cats, and have a passel of one-by-threes to nail up for purlins. I considered corrugated plastic, vinyl flooring, and briefly, asphalt shingles to cover it, but all were going to cost more than I wanted to spend. In the end I decided to reuse the tarps, which I'll cut to fit this time and staple down. And then go back and patch holes.
|Fire roasted peppers|
|I still have onions curing that |
haven't been bagged yet.
|No lie- crocheting with twine |
is hard on your hands
Other plants that did well and were a surprise were the chard I also bought from Franchi. Bieta 'Verde de Taglio' is actually a kind of beet ('bieta' gives that one away) but it makes sense when you consider that the other name for Swiss chard is silverbeet. I actually hate Swiss chard, but the description in the catalog claimed that this variety tastes like spinach, which it does.
|Bieta 'Verde de Taglio'|
Oddly, this year I struggled with the squash, of all things. I'd planted black zucchini and a variety called Costata Romana and they came up and got eaten by something (slugs, no doubt). I didn't have much time, so I only replanted the zucchini, which took. And out of three seeds per each four spots, only one precious 'Sweet Meat' winter squash made it through. From that plant I have only two squashes, one of which is pictured in the header. Next year I'm going to seed the squashes early and transplant them. Cucurbits aren't supposed to like that but I'm not taking any chances like that again. I'm also not going to plant the black zucchini but will stick to the Costata Romana because that is the one that Carol Deppe (The Resilient Gardener) said was very tasty dried, and I had wanted to dry squash to put away. She said that some zucchini tasted like nothing at all and some were not too nice dried, so since she's done all the work growing, drying and tasting, I'll take her advice and grow the one that tastes good dried.
I've learned my lesson with volunteers, however. A plant that grows where it isn't wanted is technically a weed, but wanted plants (like food crops or expensive ornamentals) that are growing where they weren't planted have been dubbed volunteers by my mother. So that's the term I used when I found volunteer tomatoes all over the yard. I have a whole bed of volunteer strawberries in with the blueberries, for instance. This year, when I had so much trouble getting the zucchini and Costata Romana to take, that when I happened on a volunteer squash growing over by the Sweet Meat squash, it was so much further along than my second batch of zucchini that I just let it grow. I didn't know what it was but I recognized a squash when I saw it. It turned out to be another zucchini, and I've pulled a lot of food from it, but the downside is that because it was within ten feet of the Sweet Meat, now I can't save the seed from the Sweet Meat because it was no doubt cross-pollinated with the nearby zukes. So no more volunteers. I have to be ruthless with the volunteers.
Today is Friday, and I would like to goof off for once (especially since I didn't pull the last batch of jars out of the pressure canner until 9:50 last night) but there is still a chicken roof to work on and apple trees to prune and zucchini plants to pull out and replace with cover crops. And weeding and a planter box to move and a compost pile to throw into it, and…and…and…..