Harvest Time Begins

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Overview of GardenHere on the farm, harvest is in full swing; just as I am sure it is with you.  We have had the wettest year here for at least the past 9 years. Instead of putting the soaker hoses out in May, we put them out in July and then have only used them once!  This area seems to be having a reprieve from the drought that has been ongoing for the last several years. We are thankful.  The temps haven’t been as high either. The thermometer has only broken 100 once and the mid to upper 90’s have been broken up by some mid to upper 80’s.  Whew! Nice. 

Keeping up with the peas is a full time job and now the okra, green beans, and butter beans are a close second. I must confess that circumstances have made this year exceptionally hard to keep up with the farm work, but that is in itself the nature of farm work isn’t it? There are always things to do, things undone, and things we wish we could do. The very nature of a farm is such that the farmer is always dealing with the unexpected on any given day; making decisions about what can wait in order to deal with the new immediate need; rearranging priorities…This could sound like complaining, but it is not. I love this life and would want no other. I have experienced other things and always come back to farming.  It is in the blood and I enjoy this life. Really, isn’t that why we do this? As my future daughter-in-law said on her first visit to the farm, “At least there is always something to do and you can never get bored.” Sounds like a keeper to me.

Buckwheat bloomingAs you know, we tried planting buckwheat as a living crop among the potatoes, peas, and okra.  It was not a success.  It outgrew the veggies and, while it worked the soil as we wanted, it made harvesting rather difficult. So, we will be trying clover next year. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

OkraandZinniasAlong with the veggies, there are the beautiful sunflowers and zinnias. One thing we will be doing, until we get the whole garden mulched, is planting our rows further apart. Our goal is to have a completely mulched garden with permanent beds set up and walking paths laid down to prevent compacting the soil. We have had some progress this year, but it is slower than I want. Doubling the garden space for corn and pea fields is also in the works.  Right now the garden is 100′ x 50′. Making peace with doing what can be done, as it can be done, and keeping the goal in mind is a challenge to me, but what would life be with challenges?

Bees on SunflowerIt is also that time of year to begin thinking about the choices for the fall garden, preparation for it, and making adjustments accordingly. We are planning to put the chickens in the garden this winter, starting in December.  This of course is designed to till, fertilize, and distribute the green manure into the soil. Dividing the garden into smaller sections and rotating them using portable poultry fencing will give us time to mulch the sections they clear for us before spring planting time.  Hopefully, half the garden will be mulched by spring…you know how the best laid plans go!

What are some of the things you have learned this year? What worked for you and what did not?  What will you be trying, adjusting, or chunking for the next planting time?  Remember, keeping a garden journal is essential to keeping track of your progress and success.  We look forward to hearing from you by comment or email.

Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and the Pack

Our Dog Pack


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