Here Comes the Fall Garden!

As promised, I began my transition into fall yesterday on Oct. 1.  I am not 100% official yet, but have made some necessary moves in the right direction.  This morning for example, I am drinking hot apple cider tea. It is wonderfully “fallish”.

I do still have tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, yellow squash, beets and peppers… BUT the pumpkins are looking good and they are prepping for their appearance in a pie on Thanksgiving. AND we have begun to prep our fall garden!

Hubby has spent the last couple days clearing a new area at BSA (Big Sky Acres) for our fall and winter growing.  This area is closer to our house and will allow us easier access in the snow. Last year it was quite a trek to the gardens once the snow and ice hit. This bed he is prepping is 75 x 45. We are going to use low tunnels for the first time! Another Farmgirl Passage for me! I am SO excited.

IMG_20141001_191026511_HDR

Each tunnel will house a 3 ft. x 20 ft. area of plants. There will be approximately 4 ft. between beds. We will use electrical conduit and frost cloth held down by bricks to enclose the spaces. Last year I used the same frost cloth in our garden for spinach, arugula and kale. It worked great in our area and we were still harvesting in January in the snow. It was incredible to eat so fresh in the dead of winter (even when we were snowed in!)

IMG_20141001_191818634
We are really thrilled about expanding and using hoops to build low tunnels. I am hoping that I can grow broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower in the tunnels along with spinach and greens. In the spring (March) I will use the tunnels to get an early start on spring veggies. I have not done that before either. I have started summer crops in the pole barn and then planted in June, but planting in the ground in March and harvesting some greens, brussel sprouts and peas in May sounds really exciting! My ultimate goal is to be gardening year around. (can you tell that Eliot Coleman is my hero and who I want to be when I grow up?)

I have been hardening off our fall green babies and they are ready to hit the dirt! (literally) They are so cute…

IMG_20141001_191723395

IMG_20141001_191718348

Seeds are selected for other things that will be growing like spinach, kale, lettuce, fava beans and a sundry of other yummy veggies!

IMG_20141001_191802269

It was really fun out there last evening and watching my hubby prep this area. He is so good at prepping my gardens and he gets so happy working outside! Jasmine is enjoying hanging out in our new area also.You can see the first strip I will be planting later today. Isn’t it so pretty? (and hubby is not bad either :-))

IMG_20141001_190949460

IMG_20141001_191130439

I will keep you posted as these get built out and hopefully down the road I will share some pictures of veggies getting picked in the snow!

Do any of you use low tunnels and garden all four seasons? Advice or tips are appreciated! (and begged for actually).

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

 

 

My Green Babies are BURSTING with Color!

It is so good to be “back.” I have been away from my personal computer and away from my garden 🙁 for a couple of weeks.  Travels to see the grandbaby were SO fun, but my garden was ignored during that time. When we returned our life was full of hustle and bustle since we are in the midst of a remodel. By 7 a.m. the crew is at the house, banging away and looking for direction from us so that keeps me up at the house rather than back in the gardens. AND rain has stopped me in my tracks when I have been able to carve a bit of time out.

Confession— I had not done anything in my gardens since 8/17.  Confession— I was in a panic over that! I KNEW that everything would be eaten (remember those army worms I discovered on my last outing?). If not eaten then strangled from the crab grass! If not eaten or strangled then slumped over from too much rain or not enough. My mind was a terrible place to visit. I was sad about my neglect, worried about what I would find and pretty much paralyzed to hop in Ms. Tupelo and have a discovery run up there.

BUT as I loaded up Ms. Tupelo yesterday morning I felt my spirit lifting.  AND yes the grass was out of control and super long. But as we made it up our hill to the gardens, a wonderful sight was before me. The gardens were BURSTING!

IMG_20140826_194218767

IMG_20140903_113511599

There were beets, green beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, peas, chard and basil. I could not believe it! WOW! They did just fine without me (lesson learned).

IMG_20140903_120313205

The beans had broken the trellis from their weight. The squash had grown over my rope so I had to reset it.

IMG_20140903_120316358

IMG_20140826_194240552

There were so many tomatoes, that even after I filled a homer bucket with 30 pounds of them it appeared that I had not picked anything!

IMG_20140903_111032462

IMG_20140903_120157745

After I picked the goodness, I sat in the back of Ms. Tupelo and wrote my thoughts for a bit. One thought is that no matter how long it has been since I have been outside gardening, the joy of being out there and seeing the goodness that is happening, far outweighs the stuff that is negative. And yes, along with all the goodness, I discovered that my cucumbers have mosaic virus. I filled a homer bucket with that also!

IMG_20140903_113824397

IMG_20140903_112913074

The grass may be long, but that is a sign of good things–we are still getting rain, the ground is fertile and I found myself thinking of all the nitrogen my plants must be getting with all that green between rows. I want to add an under cover crop in my gardens next spring, but nature has just done it for me this year. The beets, soybeans and green beans do not seem to mind at all to share their turf.

IMG_20140903_120250168

So, what did I harvest yesterday you may ask? (Even if you are not asking, I am DYING to show you!)

IMG_20140903_111006765

IMG_20140903_111029560

IMG_20140903_112353266

IMG_20140903_112356075

IMG_20140903_112400183

IMG_20140903_112840681

Isn’t that the best ever?????? All this I grew from seed.  Sorry to be busting with pride but this is my first time starting stuff from seed and not buying starter plants.  I am such the proud mama here! Look at the smile and blue skies…

IMG_20140903_113805881_HDR

And my little flower bed gave me some love yesterday also.

IMG_20140903_113438441

IMG_20140903_113449742(1)

IMG_20140903_113502280When I came in, I made me a great big tomato and basil sandwich! Oh my goodness, can you just taste this? It was so good, I even skipped the cheese!

IMG_20140903_123923678

Today, I am heading over to visit my mom and dad.  I will be sharing the goodness with them in the form of bags of produce and a crock pot of fresh tomato sauce that cooked overnight in the crock pot.

IMG_20140903_210334355_HDR

 So my garden is bursting and so am I! I hope you simply burst with delight over something today too!

Happy Unleashing (and bursting!)

FGU

Playing in the Dirt!

sprinkler garden 3There are few things I love more than a freshly tilled and planted garden.  I know it is exciting and oh so pretty when stuff starts coming up, but that moment I look at a newly planted area gives me a thrill. I love the smell, the look, the crud under my fingernails and the sweat I feel dripping down my back which all says in chorus “Good Job!”

Over the last few days we have planted two new beds.  One is actually a combo of Garden 2 and Garden 5 from last year.  We put them together to make one biggie plot-43 ft x26 ft. Hubby tilled it up with our Kubota and then we marked off rows and we planted using my handy dandy Earthway Seeder. We planted a variety of beans, peas, beets, cucumbers and flowers. I know you can’t see anything yet, but isn’t it pretty??

butterfly1

garden 2 planted

A little butterfly enjoyed hovering over it while I was finishing up.

butterfly2

butterfly3

The second one was more challenging. We had a mini hill that was nothing but hard dirt, glass, trash, weeds and more.  Mostly stuff we didn’t want. Hubby took to it with a hand held hoe, our rototiller and a bunch of man power and got it to the point of workable soil.

Hubby potato hill3

Hubby potato hill2

Hubby potato hill1

Since it is a hill (not real noticeable here, but it is elevated) we decided to put potatoes in here.  I know potatoes are risky right now as it is July. BUT I had bought them and was out of town during much of May and most of June so they did not get planted.  It was either give them a shot now or toss them. We chose to let them see what they could do and we are optimistic they will return something to us for the opportunity. 🙂

We added some eggplant in here as I understand that is a good companion for potatoes.  I sprinkled some bee friendly seeds in as well. I sprinkle a bit of those in all the gardens.

By noon yesterday we were watering our newly planted areas. Looking at them soaking in the water makes you feel so hopeful doesn’t it? I imagine the little seeds are happy to be in the soil, getting water and nutrients and are planning their grand entrance.

garden 3

 

I can’t wait until I see them popping up and I get to meet all of my new green babies. Are you still planting? What’s your favorite part?

Happy Unleashing in your garden!

FGU