Sunday, October 16, 2016

Around The Garden

While the garden growing season is winding down for me, I still have all of my biggest projects ahead of me.  I do the bulk of my work in the fall so that my garden is ready to go the first warm week of May.  So all of the digging and tilling and rearranging and prepping happens for me in October and November.  This is a busy few weeks out in the cold.  But it sets up my garden so perfectly for the next growing season.

When it's all said and done, I'll post photos of the changes I'm making.  But until then, let's talk about a few crazy garden finds recently.

Last year's sweet potato harvest {my first attempt at growing them}, was unexpectedly awesome.  But this year got off to a rough start.  The slips didn't grow as easily, despite starting them earlier.  Then those that did grow, didn't grow very big.  Then those that did get planted {at only a few inches tall}, were eaten.  So I was prepared not to find any spuds when I began digging them up.  And many plants did only offer up a pittance.  But then there were other plants that just lucked out and didn't awesome. And convinced me more than ever that growing sweet potatoes are the best idea in any vegetable garden!  Just look how pretty they are when being dug out of the soil...

A Puffball Mushroom.  I got scared and didn't eat it, despite having determined that it was in fact a Puffball.  I hope next year I get brave enough to eat it because it's quite the treat according to many.

Slugs and snails have been the death of so many of my plants this year.  I know that the way I heavily mulch contributes to this so I need to come up with a new game plan next year.  I will not be changing the way I mulch- it practically eliminates weeds and adds to the soil as it composts down.  So this winter I will be researching ways to keep these beasts at bay.  {And thank you to all who have suggested beer.  That does work, however there are caveats.  You have to constantly change out the beer and cannot get water in the shallow dishes.  You also need a lot of it to service all the areas in the garden.  I just don't think it's practical for what I need.  But I so greatly appreciate all of the suggestions- truly- I love them!  Thank you!}

Giant squash.  I've filled up your Instagram feed with these squash pics because it's just been a fascinating journey.  Zucchino Rampicante is the name of the heirloom Italian variety.  It can be eaten young as a summer squash or mature like a butternut squash.  And it tastes similar to butternut.  These are on my MUST GROW list for next year as they are hardy, fun, and delicious!  The U shaped squash was the heaviest at 16lbs.  The S shaped squash, that met it's end when I walked in on a damn woodchuck noshing it, weighed in at 14lbs.  Don't worry- it can still be eaten.  I will just generously cut out the bites and use the rest for soup.  Another still green one weighed in at 12 lbs, also death by damn woodchuck, became two batches of zucchini bread as well as enough shredded squash in the freezer to make bread and muffins all winter.  

I'm so sad to see the season come to an end.  After losing Sadie, this garden season saved me.  Very literally.  It gave me something to do, gave me solace, gave me a way to sweat it out, and gave me a belly full of fruits and veggies for months on end.

What was your favorite thing to grow this year?  Or what's your favorite thing you wish you could grow?  I'm always looking for something to new to add into my garden mix.  I never shy away from a little garden gamble! 

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