Monday, September 22, 2014

What's Happening in the Fall Garden?

Last weekend I presented a workshop at The Mother Earth News Fair called Ecosystem Gardening For Edible Crops.  It was a lot of fun, and the gist was how to have a productive food garden using no sprays while encouraging a healthy ecosystem of critters to keep your garden in balance.  It went really well, and I find it fitting to find our garden now teeming with Praying Mantis upon my return.  I found a pregnant one hanging out in the flower beds, and another that hangs out above our screen door, laying the smackdown on stink bugs.  It's neat to see nature at work.  (And a little gruesome.  The stink bugs are definitely still alive as the Mantis chomps away).

In other news, there is definitely a "favorite nesting box" that all chickens try to pile in together.  Luckily they can usually manage to fit two chickens over a pile of eggs without breaking any.  They all seem to be coming along nicely and they are laying very well.  The 2 Delaware hens (one at Garden Dreams and one at home) have taken the title of "loudest and bossiest".  The picture below shows a White Rock and a Partridge Rock.  I am enjoying both breeds a lot.

The fall salad greens I planted a few weeks ago are doing fantastic.  I ordered a jig to bend 1/2" EMT (electrical conduit) to make low tunnels to cover the greens for winter.  The jig, entitled Quick Hoops Low Tunnel Bender, was on sale at Johnny's Selected Seeds, and I already have the EMT so order it I did.  I'll let you know how it works and put up some pictures as that project progresses.

On the winter squash front, 30 Young's Beauty pumpkins have been harvested from 4 plants (plus a few that already went to the chickens) and are developing their hard storage skin by sitting out in the sun.  The Delicata squash also did quite well and I think the yield from 2 plants will be quite good.  The Waltham Butternuts are all still hiding under the vines so I have no idea how many are there.  I'll likely hunt them out soon to make sure they are in good shape for the undersides not to rot, though it has been quite dry with very little rain.  Looking forward to a winter of squash eating!

"It's my nest box."  "No it's my nest box!" "Ok we can share."
Misato Rose fall radish, carrots, and 2 Beedy's Camden Kale plants 

Delicata squash

Fall salad greens: lettuces, arugula, baby kale, mustard and mizuna.
Fall salad in a beautiful egg basket my mom gave us
Praying Mantis catching and eating stinkbugs as they try to come in the door.

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