Monday, October 19, 2009

Till and Plant

This is White Borage - but I have not had these seeds for several years - Surprise
The last asters of the season
Searching for cardoon seeds - hair of the dog
There are those seed
Two heads worth of seed - I am really happy with this amount of seed
The maple seedlings healed in and the vole trap in place
This is the mint ring - a cast iron pipe that has been used in the past to contain the mint
The mint will stay in this planting for three years and then be dug and replanted
Lettuce planted in the cold frames
The Napa cabbage looks good so far - not too much slug damage

Even though the season is over for some crops planting for fall and spring crops goes on. This week as the weather got better I had time to finish the tomato clean up by tilling that part of the garden. The straw mulch was tilled under and I planted winter rye seed as a cover crop and to help my heavy soil dry out in spring. I dig a shallow trench down the garden to help drain the area in the spring. The rye should be up in about two weeks and it will continue to grow till hard freeze and then start to grow again next spring. This cover crop will be green fertilizer next spring. I have used this cover crop for years as a way to build my soil.
The hoop house was planted with four kinds of spinach and some fall greens. I also planted the cold frames with lettuce - Winter Density, North Pole, Arctic King and Italienischer. These were all direct seeded into trenches and covered with potting soil, watered and in the cold frames the lids were closed. I will check periodically to see how the germination is going. Hopefully things will move along as we should have cool but not cold weather for a while. I will cover the hoop house when the spinach germinates and that crop should be happy there for the winter and be the great greens crop for next spring.
I worked with the cardoon seed heads to separate seed from all the choke fibers. I wore gloves to strip the spiny part of the cardoon seed head and then I broke the seed head apart. Removing the seeds from the fibers was like looking for ticks in the hair of a dog. You need to rub your fingers into the fibers and locate the seeds and then rub them out. I used my soil screen to catch the seeds as I removed them. The seeds feel hard like a buried tick hiding in the coat of a dog - sorry but that's is just what the process feels like.
I buried most of the bonsai in one of the potato mounds. The maple seedlings that will be root stock for some grafting next spring and future bonsai projects should winter quite nicely in this soil banked with straw. I put a vole trap, as the picture shows, in the center as I will supply them with some poison instead of maple trees to feed on. Just as a matter of protection I put collars around the fruit trees and use several of the PVC baited traps to keep the vole population in check.
The napa cabbage seems to be slug free even though some holes appear. I need to put plastic on that cold frame to help this crop get to maturity.
I have been drying apples and making apple sauce this week too. The apples dry quickly in the food dryer. I seldom remove the skins as they are good fiber and nutrition. I quarter the apple away from the core, thick slice the quarters, dip them in a mixture of water, lime or lemon juice, and a bit of honey, drain them and put them on the trays.
My dryer will do six trays, about 8 to 12 medium to large apples, overnight for about 25 cents. I made apple sauce in my Fissler pressure pan - great pan - in basically the same way. I leave the skins on, quarter the apples, add a bit of cinnamon, ginger, honey and water and cook them up to pressure and hold for about 5 minutes and then let them cool. I hand pick out the skins from my sauce because I do not like putting it through a Foley mill. I think that make the sauce too homogenized. The video this week is what the garden looks like now that the winter rye is planted.
Happy Gardening


video

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