Our 2021 garden: final harvest? Yes, no and maybe!

Here we are, in the middle of October, and still there are things in the garden to pick!

Yesterday evening, I went out to work on the high raised garden bed a bit. The notches at the north end needed to be finished. In particular, I needed to deepen the ones at the ends of the side logs. Since so much material had already been removed, I just used the baby chainsaw for as long as the batteries lasted. Checking it this morning, it looks like one side still needs more material removed, so I will work on that today. I didn’t bother taking photos as the difference really isn’t all the visible.

After I did as much as I could on the high raised bed, I went and did a burn. With the rain we’ve been having lately, using the burn barrel is about as safe as it can be, without snow on the ground! đŸ˜€ What an evening it was! I could hear masses of Canada Geese out in the field, where the renter has already harvested his corn. I could even see clouds of them, though the trees, flying low to the ground.

The burn barrel is in the outer yard, which made it easy to check on the garden beds along the chain link fence. When my daughters came outside while doing their evening chores, I snagged one of them to tend the burn barrel while I got a bowl to pick tomatoes into.

Yes, we still have tomatoes!

It was getting a bit too dark to see the ripe from the almost ripe tomatoes, but there were enough that my daughter finished with the burn barrel before I was finished picking!

While we were out there, not only we were serenaded by the cacophony of geese, but howling, as well.

Very different sounding howls.

We have quite a few coyotes in the area, so hearing them howling and yipping is not unusual. These, however, sounded like wolves! Wolves are rarer in our area. I can’t say I’m surprised, though. With all the fires we had this summer, we had a lot of bear sightings. If so many bears could be driven this way, wolves certainly could be, too.

Last night, temperatures were predicted to drop to just above freezing, which means frost was very likely, even though we had no frost warnings. I figured, however, this would be our last tomato harvest. Especially since the actual temperatures dropped lower than predicted. At least, according to the weather apps.

I think I was wrong!

I checked them this morning, and the tomato plants are just fine! With temperatures warming up again over the next while, we should be picking tomatoes for quite a while longer!

The Ozark Nest Egg gourds are also looking just fine, too. Seeing this has confirmed for me that setting up garden beds in the outer yard, south of the house, is a very good idea, because things were different in the old garden area.

The bush beans are done. There are still many little bean pods, but after last night’s cold, I could see frost damage on them, so that’s it for them.

The summer squash… I’m not so sure. I picked sunburst squash, anyhow.

Most of these are smaller than I would have picked them. There are still quite a lot of little ones on the plants, and I left the zucchini entirely, just in case they survived. This entire area gets full sun, however it parts of it do get shade for longer in the mornings, because of trees along the fence line to the east. The shade does not reach the squash tunnel, however, and when I checked it, expecting to harvest the last few winter squash, I decided to leave them longer, though I did collect a couple more Tennessee Danging Gourds. Even the luffa looks like it’s still growing, and there are a few melons that are still firmly attached to their vines. With the warmer temperatures expected over the next few days, the longer the fruit stays on the vines, the better.

So we shall see how it goes!

Meanwhile, the lettuce and chard are handling the temperatures just fine, so we’ll have access to fresh greens for a while, yet.

Today’s focus is going to be on preparing beds for the garlic. I got an emailed shipping notification, so they will arrive next week. There is no way I will be able to finish the high raised bed in time, so I will finish topping up the new low raised beds built over where the garlic was planted last fall. I’ll prep both, even though we may only need one. The beets in the third bed are still growing. Until the ground freezes, they can be left, as can the fingerling potatoes. One of my weather apps has long range forecasts into November, and it looks like we will continue to have mild temperatures for quite some time, yet! Even the overnight lows are going to remain mild, with only a couple of nights forecast to reach -1C/30F.

With temperatures that mild, we may actually eat all our lettuce and chard before it gets cold enough to kill them! I’m very curious to see how far the Ozark Nest Egg gourds manage to mature, and if the radishes will mature enough to produce pods that we can pickle.

These mild temperatures and rains are just what we needed right now. If we can continue to have a mild, wet winter, and no more Polar Vortexes, that would be icing on the cake!

The Re-Farmer

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