Rambling from the Ridge
The Ice Man Cometh
It’s been a busy week on the Ridge. The leaves have been beautiful and there is a nip in the air. With winter coming, we’re in the midst of preparing for the slower season. We moved the chickens to their warmer, larger winter coop and set the lights on a 14 hour timer. We finished a couple of small chores: transplanting grapes, stringing fence and cutting down the dead flowers. We are now in a race against time as we attempt to accomplish our 2012 projects before the snow flies.
The summer garden has all been harvested. We finished pulling up the corn stalks, tomato plants and squash vines last weekend. With the exception of carrots, our garden produced an abundance of food for the season. It is always a feeling of satisfaction when the last of the crops are brought into the house and the canners and processing equipment are back in the storage room for the year.
We had our first frost this week. This time of year we usually keep a close eye on the weather in hopes of extending our summer garden, but this year was different. Because the spring was so warm, we were able to get our summer garden in ahead of schedule which allowed us to get our crops picked and processed well before the end of September. With no early frost this year, we had everything in storage well before the first frost…well, almost…
Since we like to experiment, we decided to try our hand at having a fall garden this year. The beginning of June, I planted a second round of seeds in my growing rack: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. By late August, we had some empty rows in the garden so I planted my new seedlings-185 in all. I also planted carrots (I refuse to give up), greens, peas and radishes. I actually refilled all of the rows in BOTH gardens. Then we sat back and waited.
The little plants took off in the fertile soil and the seeds began to sprout. Soon we had a promising crop of carrots, peas and greens above ground and our “cabbagy” things doubled in size. Enter Jack Frost. Sunday evening, with frost predicted, we scurried around with tarps, plastic and the aid of flashlights to cover our tender young garden. After raining all day and a cloudy afternoon, sky turned crystal clear and we could see every star in the galaxy…a sure sign that Jack was on his way.
Monday morning, the thermometer read 33 degrees and the ground was surprisingly bare. Such is life! Monday was cool and cloudy and we decided to just leave the covers on the garden…our efforts were not in vain as Tuesday morning the ground was covered in white frost. The veggies were spared but my beautiful zinnias were GONE…I guess veggies trump flowers when you run out of plastic.
Now we are in a race against the elements as we attempt to keep our fall garden growing and safe and hope for production before the snow flies. We will pray for Indian Summer and few freezing nights as we enter the newest season of the year. We’ll keep the plastic handy and watch the weather as we experiment with this new venture. Enjoy the leaves, they’ll be gone soon.
Until Next Week,