"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thoughtThere is nothing quite so satisfying as clearing beds and pulling out those plants that were so productive for you at years end, harvesting those foods which are storeable for the winter months and enjoying at a SLOWER pace the last fruits of your labor. The rush of canning season is drawing nigh and what bit of canning you DO is a welcome way of warming the kitchen.
and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as
from August to November."
- Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden
The garden this month looks pretty sad; brown and crumpled vines trail across the beds but with a few orange, green and cream jewels peeking out from under them. Honestly, it is a welcome sight. Harvesting consists of nothing but picking up the fruit: no tiptoeing around in order to not disturb other plants, no pushing monstrous, prickly leaves away to get at the squash....just reach, grab and go.
Our corn did not do well, we didn't eat any of it. Half we gave to our calf Jed and the few other cobs I will try to pick kernels out for decorating. I tried the whole companion planting beans/corn thing and it didn't do anything but ruin things for us~next year we plant an entire bed of corn.
I have begun harvesting the butternut, buttercup, and acorn squashes. There are plenty more where that came from.
Carrots~ I am proud of our carrots. I did a HORRIBLE job thinning them out because they quickly got covered by the tomato plants. The whole harvest would have been lost had it not been for the dreaded tomato blight killing all of our tomatoes and opening up the carrots to the sun again. I think they forgave me for my neglect though, because despite all that, there are still some real beauties.
These are an heirloom variety that is pink on the outside and orange on the inside. I think they are beautiful.
"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause
between the opposing miseries of summer and winter."
- Carol Bishop Hipps
We gathered some of our orange pumpkins from the garden the other day. Seven of them. All perfectly wonderful. That very day we returned from Wegmans where we saw pumpkins for sale for $5.00 a piece. That was a good math lesson for Corynn at how much money we have saved! There are eight more pumpkins in the garden, waiting for their orange costumes to arrive.
The smallest pumpkin lasted just a few moments before the chickens pecked it to death. One of the not-so-great features of free-range chickens. We gathered up all the other pumpkins and put them on our patio where they are safe...but I am still going to figure out a way to get them by the front door without being mutilated. Any suggestions?! After all, I am depending on them for decorations!
Our potatoes didn't do well. At. All. I am really disappointed by the tire method. Really, either I did something wrong or that is the dumbest idea ever. I got maybe three potatoes from the ENTIRE tower of tires (four) and those were tiny, more like salt potatoes. We have a u-pick potato place close by that we will have to be visiting I think. rats.
"She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at the apples,
to make you feel the goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last."
- Willa Cather
We have also been harvesting our sweet, green, and jalapeno peppers though they are not as plentiful as I would have hoped. The plants were thriving but they didn't have huge yields. I had to BUY some jalapenos at a roadside stand to have enough for a few batches of my favorite jelly ever. And I had to scratch the idea of making homemade jalapeno poppers altogether.
Tons of mushrooms have been appearing in the garden, which I snapped up hoping they might be edible....but then I chickened out when I started reading about destroying angels and that got me just a wee bit (read: terribly) nervous. I realized that eating wild mushrooms is NOT for the amateur. I probably threw out the very best tasting mushrooms ever, but better to be safe than kill off my whole family. ;-) I do plan to read up more on the whole wild mushroom thing~because I think that would be a neat thing to learn about.
And of course, the flowers. I am so happy about the cutting garden I planted...it was the best thing I ever could have done FOR ME. There is nothing like going out and gather bouquets for the table every week. A simple indulgence. I *could* have used that space for more food, maybe that would have been a wiser choice but I am glad I did something just for my pleasure.
Looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
An thinking of the days that are no more.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson