Wednesday, September 10, 2008

an evening walk around the farm

Fall is here-- it's really sinking in lately. I wore a sweater all morning. The last few beds of greens are being planted next week... then that's it besides garlic. Our days now are filled with harvest, harvest, harvest. And keeping the weeds down in the remaining fields. And tilling in the rows when we're finished with them. Today we tilled in all the cucumbers and most of the summer squash. It was sort of sad, even though I got a lot of satisfaction from stomping on those spiky vines as a kind of repayment for so much back pain! But summer is over.

We picked scarlet turnips today-- they were huge.
The fennel bulbs are ready to harvest too.
A whole new row of swiss chard is coming on. Looks like we'll be giving out lots of chard this fall, as we have 3 different fields of it-- some even that we planted in the spring that is still producing!
The lettuce continues to be amazing... this head is massive. With the colder temperatures, it doesn't bolt as quickly (go to seed).
A new row of carrots almost ready to dig up:
These beets are about ready, too. The spacing is really good on them, they don't need much thinning at all. Let's leave these in the ground for now-- there's so much else to harvest.
And the exciting news... the cover crop is up! And coming on strong-- it just loved that 5 inches of rain we got in the past 5 days! Here is a tiny grain of oat seed sprouting:
And a whole army of rye:
The timing of cover crop seeding is everything... if it were hot and dry right now, all that expensive organic seed would be scorched. There's not really a practical way to irrigate 5 acres of ground fast enough, either. So you just cross your fingers. Seems like the weather has smiled upon us recently.
My okra plants continue to produce tender pods:
And the red peppers are really prolific still. A little more rot, because of the wet soil, but lots of perfect giant sweet peppers to give out. I eat about 3 of these a day.
The eggplants are doing something amazing. After the record-breaking harvest earlier in the summer, we thought they were toast--- but now the whole field is flowering again, and tiny little purple fruits hang from the upper parts of the plants. Who would have guessed?
The sweet potato vines, as hardy as ever, but a tiny bit of yellowing happening. Maybe that's a sign that the tubers are ripening below! Mmm.
This is what happens to cilantro when you let it flower:
It makes coriander! These tiny seed pods are delicious for spicing things up, especially in Indian cooking.
And the 3 Sisters Garden... is falling down. Everything is putting all its energy into producing fruit-- in this case beans, corn, winter squash, and even a little gourd (the spotted green thing behind the pumpkin):
The beans that are growing around the broom corn are happily suspended, high and dry, on their 12 foot tall trellises. The smaller cornstalks have been consumed by bean vines, which are now rambling all over the ground.
The tall amaranth stalks are heavy with seed. Some of them fell over in the heavy storms. I will harvest the seed soon.
And the sunflowers are also drooping under their own weight.
The broccoli field absolutely glows-- electric blue.
And the first heads of fall broccoli are appearing!
I like this shot of the evening light coming through the trees. In the foreground is a row of potatoes, then some fallow ground where potatoes used to be, then broccoli, then a far row of tomatoes.
The tomatoes are out of control.
I knew they would all ripen at once-- they were green for so much of the summer this year-- and now they are all turning red like they know their days are numbered. But how many can we actually pick, just being the 3 of us? And how many pounds of tomatoes can our members take? 6 pounds? 8 pounds?
Time to make tomato sauce!


Tia said...

I'm just passing by but I wanted to comment on how beautiful your gardens look!

Carol said...

I've oven-dried some of the tomatoes - a quicker version of sun-drying. Also going to dry some to make tomato powder!