After the potatoes, beets, onions, sunflowers and corn were harvested it was time to till up some of the garden again for the fall crops. I have tilled the garden with the tractor exactly one time before, and since Frank's back surgery was recent, he could not do this for me like he usually does. He did stay with me for moral support and advice, like, "Watch the bucket (on the front of the tractor) and make sure you don't take out a chunk of the house or storage shed." This was very good advice. I am still very slow and awkward using the tractor between the house, fences, vegetable trellises and storage buildings. For some reason backing up and turning the wheels in the right direction just does not follow the same pattern I have in my mind for driving a car. I had to laugh at myself several times as I got the tractor all whopper jawed and not aligned at all with where I wanted to be. Frank could only just stand there and shake his head.
But the job is done, and now I have some beautiful dirt to play in. We got the tilling done just in time to plant six hills of Cushaw winter squash
before evening fell. Then along came two days of a nice, slow, soaking rain. After that, I had the terrible poison ivy outbreak. I finally went to the doctor and he said it was not my psoriasis, which I thought it was. By then it had covered over a third of my stomach, the tops of my thighs, the inside of both arms and a few spots on my neck. I was truly miserable. I am finally healing up, but I haven't been back out in the garden except to pick a few things. Today, we are getting another round of rain, which is great. When the earth has had some time to dry a little, it will be time to play in the dirt some more and plant the rest of my fall seedlings and a few more seeds.
The cantaloupe will share this small area between the two storage buildings with the neighboring Cushaw. I have broadcast some zinnia and radish seeds around in hopes of deterring some of the squash bugs that reside not too
far away. I also spread some wood ashes around the base of each plant to deter squash vine boring worms. While I was at it, I shared some of the wood ashes with the green beans to try to help their blossoms to set fruit.
I'm going to plant the cabbage over in this small area by the dying yellow squash. We were still able to pick a few squash until recently, but the plants and a lot of squash bugs have now gone to the chickens.
I will plant the Brussels sprouts and carrots in the front of the herb bed so they can have lots of time to grow. That way I can till the regular garden at the end of the season without working around these two crops.
The area that held the corn will become sugar beets, both Mangels and Bucklunch. It will be interesting to see how these two crops do. If we can get a decent harvest our goal is to see if we can make some sugar. That will be a real learning experience. We will feed the beet silage to the goats and chickens if this experiment works out.
Then, next to the new beet patch we will plant another row of potatoes. We probably have enough potatoes to get us through the winter, but I would like to have some fall potatoes to store for next year's seed potatoes. Just like saving seeds from some of the other crops, I would like to grow our own seed potatoes. What if I couldn't get anymore from the store in the spring and we had eaten them all? Potatoes are a very nutritious, energy rich food that we would like to be able to produce on our own if the need ever arises.
Next will be our first crop of turnips....ever. We have heard lots of folks talk about raising turnips, both for themselves and livestock. It' time we tried our hand at it.
With the continuing discord throughout the world, we are all feeling a growing tension and a sense of dread. What might be around the next corner is an unknown at this point. The need for vigilance and determined self-reliance is more important now than ever. Do you have what you need, both in knowledge and supplies? Get with it before it is too late. Keep your family close, and to borrow a phrase from Ol' Remus, avoid crowds.
Until next time - Fern