Sunday, July 22, 2012

From the Garden: Planning for Fall

   Summer temperatures soar; heat and humidity bring pests and problems all their own. In the midst of such weather, gardening becomes a rather dismal chore...swatting mosquitoes while battling the weed war. Yet, hope is not lost for just around the corner is the start of the fall garden.
   In my southern home, gardening is a year-round event..spring struggles to survive summer, and summer survivors become fall producers. July is the month when our table talk turns to garden plots and plans. Here's is what we are doing as of today:

1. Turning out. When one plot/field is harvested out, such as the corn field, our goat herd is turned out to graze it down. Hens will scratch up seeds and bugs turning it over as they go. I also allow hens to work the greenhouse soils..bugs are especially fond of making a home in the greenhouse.
2. Turning under. Where the garden is not completely harvested, such as the field where tomatoes and okra reside with squash and cukes, we turn under or till sections that are spent. Due to rain, the green beans and squash have gone to rust; they will be tilled under and allowed to 'die out' during the heat.
3. Trim down. Pruning and propagating tomatoes and herbs will bring new transplants for cooler days. Tomatoes are already working in the soil; basil, rosemary, cat nip and such are being snipped this week.
4. Take note. My garden notebook is ever by my side as notes are made for crop rotation and planting plans. Corn will go in between the pepper plants; leafy greens will be planted just where the squash were, and so on.
5. Inventory. I make lists of seeds on hand and seeds needed. Herein we refer to our garden notes determining what tomato was a good producer or which beans lasted through the heat.
6. Plan. Some plants direct seed and some need started indoors. Notes and plans are set for starting squashes and cole crops to give them a strong root system before they are put in the ground.
7. Wait. I hate waiting for the soil temps to take a turn, but...we do what we must.

    Every season is a busy season, but the rewards are so very worth it.
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1 comment:

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

Congratulations on finding a year round gardening solution that works for you! I hope to some day live in a climate that allows us to do that (like Florida) and have some dirt in our backyard again to allow it :)