Thursday, September 08, 2011

fall garden notes

The radicchio is also coming up now. That makes for everything planned to come up there is now showing some sign of succeeding. I found about a dozen more dry pinto beans on the vines and put them in the dry storage area. It is amazing what shows up when you just sit there and really look at a plant in the sunlight. I would never have seen those dry pods hanging there if I hadn't really been looking for them. There was even one dry pod underneath the plants in the dirt that stood out just on one edge in the mud - I opened it and found three dry beans inside it that were seed quality. As I was sitting on the ground looking at the lentils sprouting I saw one dry pod hanging off of the otherwise dry and withered sticks of the Provider green beans. The seed was not in excellent condition, ie: not something I would have put in with the 'good' seeds for next year. I found a place to plant it in the fall square and if it grows, it did not go to waste.

The new lima bean pods that came on are filling out slowly. They really needed the hot weather, but there are flowers on the vines and if they produce more it will be welcome.

I'm nearly ready to go up and bring Grandma some of the 'fruit of the labor' of the garden, mixed cowpeas and green bean snaps in a container, as well as some more dry seed and nearly half of the Blue Jade sweet corn seeds we received. She gave us some watermelon seeds :) and the Sandhill catalog. I need to get our order together early next week.

from top to bottom:
Lina Sisco, from seed savers
cranberry type from a soup mix
'Esme' cranberry type grown from a soup mix bean last year

I put these in the fall planting as an experiment, to see if they will produce plants that are more similar than dissimilar. The 'Esme' is planted nearest to the lima trellis. I have a suspicion that they are all just slight variations on the same thing. The dry pinto beans I've been getting from the same plants have about as much variation in them.

I found a dry gourd in the valley and pulled seeds out of it. It was a 'volunteer' growing in the grass from seed we bought several years ago.


Also, thinking far ahead to a time in the future. Esme would be a little older then, and would be able to take more responsibility and help out on a 'farm' that might have some goats and chickens. Several people at my work keep 'a few' goats and cows on their property. They use a local butcher in Puryear to process the meat at a certain time of the year. We could save corn and grains and pumpkins and other things to feed to a dozen or so chickens, and let the goats graze in the valley and clean up all other leftovers. Grain and forage could be saved and fed to the goats and chickens over the winter. The chickens would produce eggs, and we could mix other vegetables and grain and eggs together to make a supplemental dog food, to reduce but not eliminate how much store bought food we rely on. If the goats were processed at the local butcher we could use the 'excess' in that way, as well. We already get bones and trimmings from the butcher, and give them to the dogs sometimes, when we buy our own food.

We also make a pot of 'glop' once in a while for them now - out of any fat we have leftover from our own meats from the store, a cup of cooked dry beans, and cooked oatmeal or rice and mixtures of leftover veggies. Mark says I should throw a can of tuna in it when I make some today, as we have one nearing it's expiration date on the shelf and fish and/or fish oil is also important in dog food recipes. Even with three times the work to make/keep/store a supplemental food but a third less storebought food it would still be a success. I bet leftovers would freeze for a few days at a time. There is a lot of work to do before the chicken idea would happen - fencing for one. But I count learning how to grow these different grains/plants and getting used to tending, gathering and storing the produce as necessary preparation work.

A shout-out to three blogs I've been reading lately:
Hard work Homestead
Subsistence Pattern Food Garden
Down on the Allotment (UK)

Not that we will ever go as far as all of these... but I'm learning a lot.
Oh, and the dog glop turned out just fine - I need to use a bigger pot this next time and boil the beans a little longer before I put in the rice.

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