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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Know Fall is Here When Your Brocolli Blows Over & Your Cloche Blows Away

This is what happens when you don't use UV protected plastic. Actually, this sheet lasted all summer and was cheap, so I'm happy I got a summer season out of it. I figure I can now change out the cloche cover to Reemay for the the winter.

Roland and I were out of town for the weekend, and when we came back, this plastic destruction we found plastic destruction. Apparently, a strong wind blew through during the weekend that also managed to break off some sunflower heads, blow over several of the very top heavy Purple Sprouting broccoli plants and ultimately shred the plastic on our tomato cloche. Luckily, I had just done a major prune job on the tomatoes, so they were situated below and behind the broccoli that acted like a wind screen - sort of like Bolleana poplars in a farm field.

Fall brings out the nesting side of me, where I just want to sit in front of a fire and knit or make all sorts of soups and stews. Luckily, we've had good bean, potato and onion crops, just the ingredients for soups and stews. We've been pulling out a few carrots and I can probably salvage some of the celery that got rather shaded out from the broccoli takeover. It's good to have a ready supply of soup making ingredients out of the garden by Fall.

I've just gotten a variety of winter seeds delivered from Territorial Seed Company in which I've started to plant for starts such as cabbage and root crops. As soon as the tomatoes are Tango Uniform, I plan to plant garlic and leafy greens under the cloche. The Reemay should allow the rain through, but keep the frost off and protect the crops from crushing snow, assuming we get some in this Pacific North Wet climate. Our snow is often referred to as 'Cascade Concrete' as it comes down wet and heavy and packs into sheets of glare ice. Any snow balls that happen to find their way to your head, without the protection of a helmet, can cause a concussion.

The squirrels predict a cold and wet winter this year. They've started to scurry about early this season, gathering nuts and seeds while sometimes unsuccessfully dodging cars. The trees are rapidly changing colors and the Katsuras seemed to have dropped their leaves early this year. Fall is my favorite time of the year as I love the leaf colors and the crisp hint in the air. This summer has been colder and wetter than normal, weather which has also extended into September, the time of year that is usually our Indian Summer: Warm days and crisp nights and many a blue sky day. Indian Summers give one last boost to crops and rain free gardening days to harvest and clean out the garden beds. By mid-October it's all over.

Of course, the tell tale indicator of Autumn is the Harvest Moon. The Equinox is this Thursday, September 23rd, and the moon will be full that night. Looking out my living room window, the sky is clear enough to see the moon in its almost full stage. Other names for the Harvest Moon are 'Gypsy Moon', 'Wine Moon', 'Elk Call Moon' and 'Singing Moon'. We actually get to experience a 'Blue Moon' this year. It occurs on November 21st. It's an additional moon cycle (designated as the 3rd moon as the 4th moon cycle is referred to as the 'Late Moon') within a season and doesn't occur very often, thus the saying, "Once in a Blue Moon." The next one isn't until 2013.

So, I'm taking advantage of this rare window of decent weather and tending to the final crops, getting the beds ready for Fall planting and making sure that the garden structures are, if anything, wind proof. Then it's to the kitchen to freeze extras and make soups and stews to get through the pending dark, cold months. I might even do some canning as the tomatoes are finally getting ripe.

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