Barn cat and chestnuts 1, Steller’s Jay 0.
is season extension. Or this post should more aptly be titled Rotten Tomatoes.
I’m all for season extension, but I’m ready to be done. I still need to pick the rest of the peppers, but really I need to be buttoning up this hoophouse for winter, or rather unbuttoning it. We take the covers off for the winter, mostly because of snow worries, and partly because I am in love with how the soil is after a winter cover crop and winter weather.
So before that happens, plants, posts, trellis and any plastic mulch has to be removed, and cover crop seeded.
Nothing like a over-exuberant gardener in the house. I way over-planted in the tomato department. And I thought I was done a couple of weeks ago with tomatoes. But you know what’s worse than an over-exuberant gardener? One whose parents went through the Depression. I just had to look at those plants before I pulled them all and committed them to compost. Seventy-five more pounds are sitting here today wanting my attention. I just couldn’t let them go to waste. Next year, I will plant less, I promise.
The race is on. It’s a rare year when the burrs on the trees open and let the nuts fall. We have to work in conjunction with the Steller’s Jays and the squirrels to get the nuts. They cut the burrs off, and we wait at the bottom of the trees. Not a commercial venture for sure. Just nutty and prickly.
Each day the late afternoon/evening garden gleaning time is getting earlier and earlier.
The fall rains have begun (my definition of scant seems to be different than that of the weather folks, it started raining Friday night and quit this am, that is not scant showers) and I need to now get dry storage type of things sorted, and moved to dry storage. We also need to start moving equipment into the barn for winter. So that means onions on the floor of the barn are a no-no.
At harvest we did an initial sort, for keeping onions you want dry skins and thin, dry necks. Any onions with thick, green necks go in the “use first” pile. If possible I like to let the onions cure so I can check for culls before I commit the final sort to bags for storage. One bad onion won’t spoil the whole bag, but it makes a mess, so we look them over very carefully for any soft spots or oddities.
We sort by size and weigh by variety. Above you see Stuttgarter from sets on the left, and Copra F1 from plants on the right. This year Stuttgarter was the most uniform, with very few small bulbs, whereas Copra was all over the map in size, at least half of the Copras were smallish. Both will easily keep until June.
A farmsteader can do no wrong growing winter squash. It’s hard to believe from a handful of seeds, some good soil prep, a few hours of weeding and a little worrying you can harvest five hundred pounds of food that will keep for a year (at least) without any food preservation work. Just store and eat.
I’ve been growing this particular winter squash, Sweet Meat for at least 30 years now. Ugh, that makes me feel old, but we go way back, me and this squash. I got the seeds from a dear friend at Grange, he lived in town actually and we speculated just how well it would do at my elevation. It took some doing over the years, but with careful selection I now have a consistent landrace that does well no matter what the summer dishes out.
Next on the list?
Lima beans, finally. Slow pokes! I have been waiting for these all summer. This gives a whole new appreciation for my gardening mentor who would announce that she had seventy pints canned and on the shelf…gah. I was lucky to get enough shelled for dinner last night.