|Egyptian Walking Onions are beginning |
their fall growth. Note the little guys
from summer's bulblets.
2. Never leave the ground bare. Too many times this year we've gotten soil turned, only to have planting delayed (often by rain). I need to either plant something or cover it. Immediately. Preferably plant something. Bare ground never stays that way because, as the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. If I don't plant something I want, I'll get something I don't want.
|Golden Giant amaranth (or is it Giant Golden, I can never remember)|
from saved seed. I feed whole heads to the chickens.
3. Simplify our diet. If I can do that, I can simplify what I grow. Every summer I've experimented some with different vegetables or varieties. It's great when something new does really well and we like it. If it takes too much fussing, we probably don't need it all that much. I now have a pretty good idea of what will grow well here, and that's what I need to concentrate on rather than trying to nurture things that don't grow well.
|Under the amaranth I planted pumpkins. This cultivar is Orange Bulldog, |
developed by the University of Georgia. I have a few more growing too!
4. Rely more on seasonal foods. Not that we don't already do this, but I'd like to freeze and can less, especially veggies, because I can harvest root crops all winter long. It will mean more fresh eating, less work in preserving, and more room in my freezer. Pluses, all.
|Sweet potatoes are one of the things that|
grow well here. These are Vardamans in
bloom. I found they are great keepers.
6. Can the tomato cages. Every year I seem to have problems with things that need support like pole beans, peas, and tomatoes. Either they get too tall, or too heavy, or too something. I recently saw a photo on the internet, which inspired me to consider how to use cattle panels as trellises. They are taller and sturdier than conventional tomato cages, and movable. Dan put three t-posts into a bed, and we tied a cattle panel to it....
|Cattle panel trellis installed in newly planted fall English peas & turnips|
The t-posts will be permanent in the beds, and next year we'll outfit more beds the same way. When I plant something that will need a trellis, I can tie a cattle panel to the t-posts and not have to worry about my tomato cages falling over or my bean poles leaning.
|I planted okra late. Still, if 1st frost holds off,|
I should get enough to can gumbo. The variety
is Clemson Spineless from saved seed.
8. Indoor seed starting. Actually, because of our long growing season, I've done okay direct sowing almost everything. True, tomatoes are late, but I don't know actually need the earliest possible tomatoes. Or melons. Or whatever. It's more important to have at least something to harvest and eat. On the other hand, if something doesn't make it (like this year's sweet peppers and eggplants) I don't know until it's getting a bit late in the season. Oh well. Simpler eating, right? Still, with my companion group beds, I need everything to reach mulchable height about the same time. Slow germinators need to be started early for that. This is something I need to work on.
|Even though the tomato cages toppled from the weight of the tomatoes, my|
antique marigolds came to the rescue. They propped up the tomato plants!
These are my thoughts so far. They're not so much gardening goals as they are self-sufficiency goals. With an overall goal of becoming as self-sufficient as possible, we're finding we have to focus on the majors and simplify the rest. If the only thing I had to do was the garden, I could get as exotic as I want. The garden is important, but it's only a part of what we do here. Since there isn't time to do everything, I think these changes in the garden will help.