To our great joy this season, it paid off, with quite a few veggies to feed us now, while most other people's around here are long gone. I have also been watching the weather like a hawk, along with listening to what my own body has been telling me, and let things like my sweet potatoes grow as long as absolutely possible. A few nights were a pretty scary gamble for all my fruits and veggies, but I took the gamble, and it has now paid off. Most of what is growing right now, I had planted close together, and/or inside the protection of taller veggies, and/or let the weeds grow up tall around them, and it really helped keep them protected! Most everything survived the first few frosts we had with flying colors!
We have been thoroughly enjoying fresh tomatoes, both cherry and regular sized, tender green onions, Asian green beans, loads of hot peppers (those Big Jim hot peppers are the BEST fire roasted over a hickory fire on a crisp Fall day), Sweet Banana peppers, Okra, and even fresh Figs. Sadly, nature did turn the clock off for my cucumbers several weeks ago. I am wishing now I had planted a big patch of leaf lettuce, because this would have been the perfect growing conditions for it. We have had just the right amount of rain, along with days of sunshine, and not too hot, nor too cool.
We must remember this great growing season and always take the gamble on planting a well rounded variety of Fall garden. Mother Nature does such odd things anymore, we just never know what She is going to do! If we save as much of our own seeds as possible, we won't be out any money for it, either. And it still won't be a loss if it starts to freeze because most can become goat feed.
But today, sadly, it has all come to an end. It was an absolutely gorgeous, mostly sunny day, today, with the temperature getting up to nearly 70°F. Tonight will be cutting things close, with a predicted low of 31° to 33°F for our area. But tomorrow night, that is another whole story. During the day tomorrow, it is supposed to only get in the low to mid 40s, then tomorrow night, the bottom falls out, going down to 20° to 22°F!!! *shiver* Which means, the outskirts of the country could drop down in the upper teens!! I am SO NOT READY for this!!!
I have had so much going on, lately, that I have not been able to get my plants winterized. So today, I have been scrambling all day to get things done, and as much saved as possible. I dug my sweet potatoes just a little bit ago, as the last drops of daylight were fading, and I was so glad I let them grow longer! There weren't a whole bunch, as I had only planted a few and got them in late (my second time to grow sweet potatoes), but they got sooo big! I am really proud of them this year. Last year was my first year for growing sweet potatoes, and I didn't know I was suppose to spread them out and let them 'cure', so they all ruined, but this year, I hope I do it right and we can enjoy them for Christmas dinner.
I picked all the seed pods off of the Okra. Not all were brown, yet, but they were turning yellow, so I am hoping they are still viable seeds for next year. They are in brown paper bags, now, and I will let them dry out. Then, for one final and thrifty use of the okra, I cut the stalks down and gave them to the goats, much to their great joy! I cut a little over half of them, then I will give them the rest tomorrow. After I cut the okra down, the cherry tomatoes were more exposed and I had to race two of my dogs for them and pick them fast! I am not sure yet what I will do with them, dip them in batter and deep fry them, or pickle them. Probably a little of both. (the green ones, that is, I will let the ones that are turning go ahead and ripen). I was especially surprised to find that I had summer squash to pick today! A couple of the plants had snapped back from summer's heat.
And there is still quite a long list of "winterizing" I must get done before the temps drop down below freezing tomorrow. I am not sure how I am going to get it all done, but somehow, I will! I was going to pick the multitude of Tabasco peppers by moonlight, but I just couldn't see well enough. I am sure, though, I will be working on into the night with flashlight, because it is warmer now than it will be in the morning or all of tomorrow. I have pumpkins, apples, squash, and all those overgrown veggies I have been saving for seeds to bring in, houseplants, a few garden plants I want to pot up and winter over, some plant and tree clippings to cut for rooting, still a few things to pick, and oh, so much to do. I think that while I take a short break, it is time to organize it all on paper, before something important ends up frozen. Dave will be able to help a little tomorrow, but we have errands that have to get done then, too. Errands annoy me, they always seem to get in the way of the important stuff around the farm. Wish us luck!
HOMESTEAD BARN HOP - come join the fun!