It’s harvest season, which means that in addition to working 6 days a week (3 for my business, 3 for someone else) I have harvesting and preserving on top of work. Thankfully, my day is light today. I have an excision biopsy to perform this afternoon but other than that I’m free. Which is good because I’m going to need the time.
When I finish my coffee and this blog post, I will be girding up my loins (so to speak) and wading into the tomato forest to harvest another probably 6 or 7 gallon sized bags of tomatoes. Which doesn’t sound like much until you factor in that most of my tomato plants are cherry tomatoes – they fit a lot more into a bag than Romas. I planted Cherokee purples, Romas, some sort of Italian plant that give fruit that are Roma-esque but smaller, yellow pear, and orange cherries. I figured at least one variety would produce. WRONG. They all have produced FAR more than I ever anticipated. This year has been AMAZING for tomatoes!
Then, after I finish in the tomato forest it will be time to venture into the prickly pumpkin jungle. I bought 6 pack flats of honey dew melons and pie pumpkins – one of each. Except that the honey dew flat apparently was mostly also pie pumpkin, so I have three honey dew plants which have not produced very well, and 9 pie pumpkin plants which HAVE. I believe I will have at least 25-30 pumpkins by the time the season is done, not including the ones I’ve already given to the chickens. Good thing my family likes pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin soup … you get the idea.
Now keep in mind that I do raised bed intensive gardening. So my tomato plants, all 12 of them, are in a total of 64 square feet of space (2 4×8 beds) and share some of that space with cabbage and eggplant. Though I haven’t seen the cabbages in 2 months… And the pumpkins and melon plants are in a 32 square foot bed (1 4 x 8). We have all our beds set up with soaker hoses and an automatic timer as well as deep mulch to keep the moisture in. We fertilize with manure from cattle and our chickens. That’s really it. I don’t weed very much once the plants get established, the deep mulch helps with that and mostly they suffer from benign neglect. I don’t pinch off suckers either, I just let the plants do their thing and other than some tying up that’s really the extent of my care.
Then I need to prep a bed for garlic. I got organic Italian soft neck garlic to plant later next month. Supposedly we should plant in November for harvest in July but I’ve found that just doesn’t work well here. So I want to try planting it earlier to allow it to get a better hold before the frost hits, so the bulbs may be bigger next summer.
Then there are still the harvest of figs to deal with…I let go to waste probably twice as many as I was able to harvest and get into the freezer, and there’s likely 30 pounds or more in the freezer.
Then we have to finish putting up the bamboo 6 foot fencing around the back yard. I have 4 foot garden fence but I am tired of the skunks, dogs, and cats trying to dig under it to get into our yard – just going to wire the bamboo fencing to what’s already there and put rocks along the base on either side. We’ll have a little bit of shade in the summer for the more tender plants as well as somewhat of a wind break plus maybe a little more privacy. Our county code requires a permit for anything over 4 feet but since this is in no way a permanent thing I do not plan to get one. I’m pretty sure biodegradable fencing wired to an existing fence is not cognate to putting up a 6 foot block wall or to putting up prefab 6 foot wooden panels. So I’m just not going there.
The one main reason for the fencing in the first place is this: our money hungry county workers have decided to go to the poorest areas of the county looking for obscure violations of codes that no one knows about and start fining people for these violations. One of my patients, a disabled elderly woman, got a citation for “weeds.” That’s what it said. Well duh, it just rained every day for 3 weeks straight and you are going to fine her because she has an overgrowth of weeds???? So the county is saying that if it can be seen from the road, they will fine people. People who have building supplies in their back yards are getting citations because it can be seen from across the alley on the street behind them. People who have piles of wood are getting fined because it’s an eyesore. Yes, I’m serious. We got a citation for ‘trash.’ Yep, all those nested planting pots, piled bags of mulch, manure, unused raised beds, sliding glass doors and windows for the greenhouse neatly leaned against the house next to the greenhouse, neat stacks of walkway bricks, are all trash… stupid jackasses. Money hungry bastards. If I had planned on living in an area with rules like this I wouldn’t have moved where I did. Hence the fencing. Keep your damned nose out of my yard. And out of my neighbors’ yards too. I know one guy that wants to build a garage but the county won’t give him a permit. But they were sure happy to give him a citation for the building supplies in his yard!
And, we need to get rid of our van with the blown transmission. 6 years of it sitting is plenty long enough. Then we need to move our travel trailer over about a foot so we can install fencing along our side border down to the street. Our neighbor has a pit bull they don’t keep in their yard, they let him wander, and he attacks our cats and us.
Then we need to look into getting a permit for wood so we can replenish our wood supply for the winter. $20 for a permit for up to 4 cords versus $180 for 1/2 cord delivered…that’s an easy choice.
No, all of this is not going to be accomplished today! But it has to be done soon….winter is coming and the harvest won’t wait.
Next post will be regarding seasonal harvest feast traditions and localizing one’s traditions to one’s climate zone.