Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cover Crops and Winter Gardening

IMG_0321Gardening at this time of year involves a lot of clean up and planning for the next year.  I had planted a winter garden only for most of it to become deer food so I have got out the scarecrows and some covers and replanted some of it in the hopes that I can keep the deer away long enough to actually get some people food from it.  I don’t claim to be a professional gardener, but I think I know more than your average gardener  relocating and dealing with a different type of soil and living in the mountains instead of the city has sure given me a whole lot more to learn.  We have a few acres to garden now instead of a 20’X20’ plot so we planted an orchard which has also given us more to learn about.  We use a tractor now instead of just a shovel and IMG_0323a lawn mower.  We have actually been accumulating a lot more tools we have never needed before and now we find we just can’t do without them, that could be a whole other blog topic.

Yesterday I planted the onion slips.  This is my favorite way to grow onions.  I planted Walla Walla and Italian Red Torpedos along side the garlic that the deer didn’t eat and I still have some sugar snap peas coming up that they missed along with some fava beans.   IMG_0326

Looking up I saw that the deer had gotten some of the persimmons that are coloring up nicely, but there are still enough for us and the birds, cookies and breads are in our future, for now though I love looking at them hanging on the tree , they are as pretty as any flower and a color that is so different that there is color actually named after it.  Persimmon…sort of a golden, orangey brown color perfect for fall. 

Out in the orchard is where the clean up was taking place yesterday.  We have star thistle and lots of it.  We are trying to get a handle on it so we disked it and then drug it and carried it off to an out of the way place.  I’m not sure the timing is quite right because it is spreading seeds every where, but theIMG_0329 plan was to plant some rye seed and some seed for wildflowers that would attract beneficial insects and with rain in the forecast for next week the timing sure seemed right.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be planting something called Hairy Vetch I would not have believed you, but IMG_0333we are planting that and purple flowering vetch in the orchard to help the soil and attract beneficial insects.  We bought all these seeds in bulk and the hope is that they will grow and reseed and choke out that star thistle.  I love the way the bulk seeds looked in the bag and spreading them around made me feel a little like Johnny Appleseed.   I am really enjoying learning all these new gardening methods and can’t wait to see the results.  And when we start getting fruit on our trees there will a lot of learning and experimenting going on in the kitchen too!

IMG_0336We also worked on the Belgian fence today.  We are changing the layout a little and some of the trees actually put on enough growth over the summer that we actually had things to tie up and the fence is shaping up.  There are several varieties of apples on here that are all on a dwarf rootstock to keep things under control.  This is a real experiment for us so it is taking some time to play with and tweak, but if we can get it off to a good start while they are small I think we should have some great results.  Again we are planning and gardening for the future…guess that is what gardening teaches us the most…patience…

Patience and hope for a wonderfully prosperous future, this is an exercise we all need these days…

Keep gardening for a better tomorrow~



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