October 2, 2013

2013 Garden Journal: fall is here

It's true for our neck of the woods anyway, just this last week we have had our first killing frost, snow on the mountain and sunshine days with temps up in the eighty's. Yep it's fall here. Time to bring in what needs to be brought in and clean up what needs cleaned up...

Inside: thankfully we are still canning tomatoes. This year we were able to can 26 quarts of tomatoes from our garden. This was our best year ever! Of course we ate and are still eating fresh ones too. I am so thankful and blessed by Abba's provisions.

I also picked and dried some more Jacob's cattle beans, and the onions are drying nicely in the basement. I believe we will have plenty to last through the winter. The rest of our shelves are filling up slowly, which will be a huge blessing as we 'plan' to pretty much eat solely out of our food storage through the winter months.

We chose to cancel our cow-share this month, and that was sad day indeed, but our family has a purpose and a plan and the money we will save from this sacrifice will be worth it in the long run. However this also means we are now on nut milks, except for the weekly times I make kefir, but using only nut milk has created a minor learning curve in my baking.

Challenges are meant to grow us a little...

Outside: again is in conflict with the work inside, but I think that happens every year for every gardener. We have removed every garden bed, yes - you read me correctly, every garden bed is gone because next year we will not be planting a garden.

It's been a hard month, emotionally and spiritually, but it also has been a good month for us...

I had wanted to share my opinion on using wood chips in our garden, as in the popular Back to Eden method, but I don't think I will have the time to write out my experience in detail. Although I will say, I do believe it depends on the crop grown, because my beans hated the experience but all of my salad greens loved it. And our potatoes loved it too!

So honestly, if it were given enough time, I do believe that using the wood chip method has wonderful potential and it's something I would keep trying for some crops. But straw bale gardening, through my experience, still remains my favorite. The amount of yield, soil life, and plant heath seemed to out shine anything that I had grown in my first year of using wood chips. This is the method I use with my tomatoes and I have never been disappointed.

With that, I will add that gardening is such a personal thing, and I think one really has to get into it to find what works for you and your family. I say trial and learn...

I was also suppose to share more about my sweet potato adventure, but again, I am lacking details... although I did receive a minor crop of small potatoes this year. I did not take pictures of the harvesting. Sorry. But my conclusion is this: one can grow sweet potatoes in a zone 4/5 if your extend your season using covers and mulch, and you give your taters some time.

This was such a great learning experience for our entire family!

And about those squash... they took over the place, and produced like mad! Wow! They love straw bale gardening too. And do not plant your sweet potatoes too close to the squash plants, it makes for and interesting jungle to crawl through. Lesson learned. :)

This (above) was the last photo I had taken of the garden just before our fall trip... as you can see it was quite full. I wanted to include here it for my own reflection, to see what had been before we removed everything... it's amazing what a vision will do.

So What's New? - besides the above, nothing really except our many trips to the landfill because we are down sizing, cleaning out the garage and removing yard waste.

Family Resource: okay, since Genesis was the beginning, and it shares with us the historical account of our Creation and the fall of man, the Garden of Eden and much more... you should check this out. It's a new film called Genesis Movie 3D and I would spend the time and money to go to the theater for this one!

~ Blessings & Shalom!

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