Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Garden Status

The last sunflower is blooming, along with oregano, sweet marjoram, yellow squash and desert mallow.

Well, some days I actually feel like I had a real garden this year with an actual harvest.  A review of some of the crops:
  • Birds and everything else will pluck out newly sprouted sunflower seeds and peas - must rig up some protection for them. At least a dozen sunflower sprouts and 100 pea sprouts were donated to the local wildlife.
  • Garlic beds dug up a month or more in advance worked out very well - nice, soft, easy to plant beds. Ones not made up early are not nearly as easy to plant out. Now I am looking at planting some directly in unprepared beds, and that will be even worse, probably inhibiting good bulbing up in the spring.
  • Sunflower seed heads need to be well protected or the wildlings will eat them all - even before they are mature. Chickies got very few this year, and there are none for the wild things for the winter. Sunflower leaves,however, made excellent chicken greens all summer long. And after the sunflower seeds had been consumed by the wild things, I pulled the stalks out and the chickens had a riotous good time eating up the leaves and pecking at the seed head itself.
  • Collards grew very well under the shade of the large, yellow squash leaves. Next year, need to grow more. The chickies really like collards, and I added some to our salads.
  • Spinach was a great success. I only half-hearted saved seeds. Some of the ones I saved did sprout when planted in the fall, but I don't know if Matador is open pollinated, so I didn't really work at it. Chickies and Granddaughter indulged in much spring spinach.
  • No matter how many edible pod peas that I grow, there is never enough! I like to eat them right off the vine. The chickies like the peas, the pods (from ones that have grown too old to eat more than the peas themselves), and the leaves.
  • Peas sown in September will probably not ripen before the first hard frost - still, at least they will make some nice greens for the chickens.
  • Bi-colored corn was stunted as usual, but flood watering them produced a significantly higher number of ears of corn this year. Pollination was spotty, so most ears were missing kernels here and there - not pretty, but still very sweet and yummy. I ate several raw, right off the stalk - and happy chickies got to peck at the resulting cob. The bright red stalks and leaves of this variety is beautiful - need to look up what type I planted so that I can order that type of seed again.
  • Yellow squash was a great success in bed no. 3. The ones in the ground, however, were eaten the moment they sprung forth from the earth.
  • My garden blessed me with any wild things in the garden this year. I saw my first and only humming bird while sitting quietly in the garden before work one summer day. Lizards lapped water from the herbs in bed no. 1 all through the summer. Pigeons nested in the chicken coop (although Old Biddy kept destroying their nests, so they did not raise a brood). Chipmunks and mice raided the garden from time to time, and red tailed hawks (or so I believe them to be), soared overhead. Rabbits, luckily, are well-fenced out!
Well, I am sure there is more, but if I am ever to get this posted, I shall have to stop for the moment.
Chickies and Hungry Jack (the rooster) enjoying sunflower stalks for a late afternoon snack.

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