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November Garden & the Maple Trees

There isn’t much happening in the garden this time of year. The garlic is sprouted up through the sawdust mulch.

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The carrots taste delicious. I’ll wait until later in the month before I pull them to store for winter.

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I didn’t get the tomatoes picked before the killing frost, such a waste. I won’t taste delicious tomatoes again until next summer. Those things they sell in the grocery store don’t taste like real tomatoes! I think they are colored baseballs.

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The maple trees have been especially beautiful this year. We don’t always have the orangey/red color but this year we had color in an abundance.

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Those are soybeans at the bottom of this picture. They are ready to be harvested.

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Last spring my forsythia didn’t bloom, then I noticed this several weeks ago. Does forsythia often bloom in the fall? Maybe it does and I never noticed it before.

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I took the pictures of the trees earlier in October. The leaves have steadily fallen from the trees and it snowed on Friday, October 31. I’m so not ready for winter!

October Garden, Planting Garlic

The middle of September was cold, chilly, dreary, cloudy and rainy. It’s the gloomy weather that makes us fully appreciate the beautiful fall weather we are having now. We have had a week of sunny days without any rain so I was able to dig the potatoes and I’m ready to plant the garlic.

First you till your soil, then level it  with a garden rake. I’ve got row marker stretched on the right side so the row runs straight.

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When I harvested my garlic last summer, I laid the heads out on a cloth in the garage to dry and left them there for a month. After they dried, I selected 20 of the largest heads and set them in a separate basket to use for planting this fall. You will need to separate the heads into single cloves. It is ok to leave on the paper, it won’t hinder planting.

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Plant the garlic with the root end down. Push the clove into the soil at least an inch deep, 2 inches is better. Plant the cloves 4 or 5 inches apart in a wide row. Make a mark in the soil when the cloves run out. I guess I plant my rows too wide, they never go the length of the garden. With the back side of the garden rake, gentle rake the soil so the garlic cloves are covered. Then softly firm the soil.

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I cover the garlic with 2″ – 3″ of sawdust. Make sure you cover the edges so the weeds don’t creep in. Try to level the sawdust evenly.

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Ok, this is it, this is how you plant garlic. The garlic will start growing this fall and push up through the sawdust. Early next spring I will add more sawdust for mulch, then harvest in June or July.

The tomatoes are still producing, not a lot, but enough to eat.

IMG_4689And the carrots are ready to eat.

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The field corn is starting to dry down. We won’t harvest it until it is completely brown.

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Working in the Garden

Last week I did some very necessary weeding in the garden. I pulled all the foxtails from the potato patch and had 5 piles of weeds!

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I dug the rest of the potatoes in the first row. We’ve had so much rain, they are muddy!

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The ground was too wet to till, so I mudded in the radish seeds where the green beans and the first row of potatoes had been. The seed wasn’t planted very deep.

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When the ground is not as wet, I’ll dig the last 2 rows of potatoes. Those dead looking brown things are the potato stalks.

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When I planted my broccoli plants last spring, I found some plants that were labeled cauliflower. I don’t normally grow cauliflower but  since I had it, I’d grow it . . . but . . . is it cauliflower? Does cauliflower get sets on the side? This looks suspiciously like brussel sprouts!

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And the top looks like this; so is it cauliflower or brussel sprouts?

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This grasshopper doesn’t care what it is, it tastes good to him.

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September Garden

Where did August go? I can’t believe it is September already! The field radishes are growing in the west part of the garden.

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The potato vines have died down, but I have a thriving crop of fox tail weeds that will need to be pulled before the potatoes can be dug.

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Believe it or not, I am still getting green beans off those pitiful plants. I don’t know if they will keep going until frost. The carrots are growing. I don’t know why they didn’t come up the first time, I replanted in exactly the same location.

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Did you notice, the bottom of the corn stalks are still curved. I don’t know if that will cause a problem with the combining.

The tomatoes are yielding well, all the tomato sandwiches I can eat!

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The field radishes I planted last spring have done their job of suppressing weeds. The cosmos are bright and cheerful too.

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We have had so much rain this year and with the cooler temperatures the corn and soybeans are behind in maturing. This hayfield is doing great. In another week we’ll make 4th cutting of hay from this field. This will mark the end of our haying season.

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I’m still burned out from the weather last winter. Isn’t green a beautiful color? Unfortunately the rains haven’t been widespread. Many farms in eastern Indiana and southern Michigan aren’t lush and green.

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The August Garden

The early garden crops have been harvested and I have rough tilled the soil in that area. Field radishes have been sown to keep the weeds from taking over and will help loosen the soil for next year’s garden.

Field radish seed looks just like regular radish seed.

IMG_4488I plant the seed in my garden drill. The white round thingy is a “plate”. The planter has 6 plates for different size seeds. I can plant carrot seeds to seed corn. The farmer gave it to me for Christmas many years ago.

IMG_4489I make the rows approximately 6 inches apart. They don’t need to be exact.

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The tomato plants are loaded, they just need to ripen!

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I replanted the carrots in July. The first planting just didn’t come up.

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Garden Harvests

The garlic has been harvested. I dug the cloves with a fork and cut off the tops. Then they were washed in water and the top layer of paper was peeled off. After drying in the sun, they are now drying in the garage on a cloth. I will leave them there for several weeks. It was a pretty good harvest.

IMG_4424This is a 2 gallon pail of garlic, it couldn’t hold all of the harvest. After the garlic has dried, I’ll select the 20 largest heads to  be saved for planting this fall. I always save garlic for the cooking I use and give the rest away.

The green beans have been growing and I have been freezing them for winter.

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We are eating the the potatoes.

IMG_4433Over 40  3/4quart boxes (or 3 cup boxes) of broccoli are in the freezer.

IMG_4446The onion stalks have fallen over and are ready to be harvested.

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July Garden

June was a very rainy month and it was hard to keep the garden weeded. It’s not weedless, but it looks a lot better than it did.

IMG_4278These are field radishes planted by the corn to suppress the weeds. The soil seems to be compacted in this spot and the tiller jumps around when I try to till here. The radish roots are supposed to go deep and loosen up the soil.

IMG_4279The potatoes look good, the rain washed most of the potato bugs off the leaves. There are a few on the plants so I powdered them. The green beans look bedraggled after being weeded.

IMG_4280I’ve harvested broccoli several times and more is coming.  The peas are still yielding, they love all the moisture.

IMG_4281The garlic leaves have started turning brown, soon it will be time to pull them.

IMG_4282This years garden is half the size of last years. Volunteer dill weed and cosmos came up in what was part of last years garden. I’m hoping they attract swallow-tail butterflies.

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The Garden in June

The garden is growing since the weather finally turned warm. The garlic is getting tall and the onions are finally big enough to  mulch. The peas are starting to bloom.

IMG_4174The broccoli plants haven’t grown as much as I would like but I have been able to harvest some early broccoli to eat. The potatoes have had more soil hoed on top of them.

IMG_4175 I’ve dusted the green beans because the flea beetles were attacking them. I also dusted the broccoli  just in case the cabbage loopers arrive. On the left side of the photo is a row of herbs, parsley, marjoram and 3 types of basil. I had planted several close rows of carrots in between the green beans and herbs, but it was old seed and they came up so thinly that I just decided to till them under. I don’t know what I’ll plant there yet, maybe some later green beans.

IMG_4176On the east side of the garden are 4 tomato plants. They were originally about 12″ tall, but I plant them deep with only about 4″ – 5″ above ground. I try to always mulch them and put up the cages right away. The fence posts hold the cages upright, otherwise they fall over when the plants get heavy. In between the tomatoes are cilantro plants. On the left side of the tomato cages is a row of cosmos. Some of the row was planted with cosmos seeds and part was planted with volunteer cosmos from last years plants. Beside the volunteer are some very droopy looking  borage plants.

IMG_4177Earlier this spring I showed you a picture of the farmer plowing ground for corn. That was this field beside the garden so you will get to watch the field corn grow too.

Garden Progress

The early garden vegetables are planted; now they just need to grow! The peas have popped up through the soil line and the pea fence will go up next week. The garlic needs to be weeded and another layer of mulch added. The onions aren’t big enough to mulch and the potatoes are waiting for warmer weather before they emerge. The broccoli is holding its own and has grown some since I planted it last week.

The first picture is of the garlic; such an easy crop to grow!

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This is looking west from the center of the garden.

 

 

IMG_4046That is alfalfa at the top of the picture. When it is tall enough, we will make hay to feed the cattle. Here is a close up of the alfalfa.

IMG_4048The garden and alfalfa field are beside the field the farmer is plowing.

Rhubarb Harvest Time & Some Asparagus Too

Plants are finally starting to s l o w l y  g r o w and I had the first harvest of the season last week when I cut the rhubarb to  make rhubarb custard dessert.

IMG_4028Obviously I washed the rhubarb and sliced into small pieces.

IMG_4036Here is the recipe for the Rhubarb Custard Dessert.  Preheat oven to 350*.

Crust: 1/2 cup pastry flour

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 cup cold butter

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients and pat into a 8″ square glass baking dish or a 8″ by 12″ glass baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

Rhubarb filling: 2 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb (Place in mixing bowl)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup pastry flour

1 cup top cream (or use half & half) (top cream is what I dip off the top of the gallon of raw milk I bring in for us to drink)

1 large egg

Stir sugar & flour together. Pour over rhubarb and mix. Beat egg and pour into cream, stir. Pour over rhubarb and stir well. Let set while crust is baking.

Pour rhubarb into baked crust; lower oven temperature to 325* and bake for approximately 45 minutes. After baking 45 minutes, partially insert table knife into the center of the dessert. If the filling is still slightly “runny” replace in oven and bake 5 – 10 minutes more. When fully baked, remove from oven and let cool before serving. If you cut the dessert while still hot, it will become watery.

I normally double the recipe and bake in a 9″ by 13″ glass baking dish. Baking time is at least 60 minutes. Every oven is different, you will need to adjust the baking time to your oven.

The original recipe for this dessert came from my neighbor friend, Annetta Shirk. She added more sugar and didn’t add the egg. I tweaked it and made it my own. You take the recipe and tweak to your taste and make it your recipe.

IMG_4040I have asparagus growing close to the rhubarb, some had peeked through, not a lot, just enough for a meal.

IMG_4029IMG_4030There was just enough asparagus for a taste. Soon there will be an abundance of asparagus!