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Friday Favorite: ZZZZZZ

October 23rd, 2015

I like to get good sleep every night, sometimes I go through phases where I don’t. The last week or so, I’ve been waking at 4 am, not quite the rising time that keeps me most productive throughout the day.
moon 1 (1)
Perhaps it’s the moon, or maybe the coyotes are howling at that time, or one the cats might be playing with something. You never quite appreciate uninterrupted sleep until you’ve gone without it for a while. I’m keeping my fingers crosses that tonight I’ll be able to sleep until at least 5:45, which is my normal wake-up time.

What time do you usually get up in the morning?

Building Foundations

October 22nd, 2015

This week I’ve been working on building the foundation for next year. I’ve been spending my time pulling out any remaining weeds and adding a thick layer of compost or chopped leaves and grass clippings over the garden areas.
mulching 1
The edible garden areas are getting 3-4 inch thick layers of compost and the fruit trees are getting a 6-10 inch layer of chopped leaves and grass.
mulching 2
Not only will this feed the soil for my crops next year, I will have fewer weeds to deal with as well. In my experience, chopped leaves are the best weed suppression material. I’ve been putting them on my garden in fall for years and am amazed by how easily they keep spring weeds away. It’s nice to know that in spring my garden will be ready for planting, I love getting these chores out of the way in fall.

What do you use as a mulch to protect and feed your soil during the winter?

Pop, Pop, Pop

October 21st, 2015

Last month, I harvest the popcorn. I would have liked to have left it in the garden to dry on the stalks, but there was tons of rain in the forecast. It sat in the top of the garage for a month and I shucked it yesterday.
popcorn 1
It isn’t as big as I would have liked, but it’s better than nothing. The lack of rain this summer was the most likely culprit. We will still have enough to get us through the year, it’s nice that we won’t have to buy popcorn this year. Homegrown popcorn is delicious, if can’t grow it yourself, find a local farm that does. You’ll be amazed at the flavor.
popcorn 2
Overall, I’m still happy with the harvest. I have already started planning which varieties I’m growing next year. I added a thick layer of compost to that section of the garden in preparation, since corn is a heavy feeder. Next year, the plan is to grow multicolored corn, black, red, and white.

Have you ever grown popcorn?

Growing Fall Broccoli

October 20th, 2015

When I posted about my fall broccoli last week, there were lots of of questions about it. The varieties I grew for fall were the same as the ones I grew for my summer crop. I got a packet of ‘All Season’ broccoli from Renee’s Garden, it has three different types in one packet,¬†early, mid, and late season varieties.
Renees garden broccoli
Fall broccoli produces much nicer and tastier heads than spring sown plants. I’m completely amazed by the quality of my fall broccoli vs my spring broccoli. The key to good fall broccoli is seeding at the proper time. I seeded them in flat back in July. My first sowing was gobbled up by my turkeys, luckily I had seeded another planting 10 days later just in case something happened to my first crop. I transplanted them into the garden and mulched them heavily with compost.
broccoli
I watched patiently and wondered if they were actually going to produce heads, then all of a sudden they started and grew into the most beautiful broccoli I’ve ever grown. The broccoli is tasty and there is no hint of bitterness at all. Overall, it was a grand success. The key is starting them early enough to make sure they will reach maturing right around the first frost date. The heads hold for a long time in the garden, so there’s not a problem with having too many on hand. Next year I might try a shorter season ‘Arcadia’ broccoli from Johnny’s Seed, because it’s a cold tolerant variety bred for winter production.

Do you do any winter gardening? What’s your favorite crop to grow?

Quote of the Day: Seasonal Change

October 19th, 2015

“The season changed, from one hour to the next. She had gone to sleep in the cool balm of an Indian summer evening, and wakened in the middle of the night to the sharp bite of autumn, her feet freezing under the single quilt.

Diana Gabaldon in The Fiery Cross

Last week I was working in the garden in flip flops and a tank top, yesterday morning we woke up to a hard freeze and temperatures in the low 20’s. On my way home Saturday it was sleeting, yesterday it snowed.
Weather
I had read this quote in the book the night before, quite fitting indeed. We debated putting an extra blanket on the bed, but didn’t. Luckily, we didn’t wake up cold, but you can be we put the blanket on last night! Now we get to work with winter preparations. Chains and plows need to go on vehicles, stock tank and chicken waterer heaters need to be checked and cleaned, coops need cleaned and piled with lots of fresh bedding, and the garden needs a protective layer of mulch.

How’s the weather in your garden? What chores are on your list to get ready for the upcoming season?¬†

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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