Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Planting

It’s a gorgeous day in Atlanta, perfect for planting the last of the fall vegetables. I managed to get 32 late season onions planted, as well as Swiss Chard, spinach, parsnips, broccoli—you may remember, I didn’t have ANY luck with broccoli in the spring. The problem was cabbage worms, along with my inexperience gardening and general lack of knowledge regarding combating pests organically—as well as Romaine, Butter, and Maevielle lettuces. We planted peas and snap peas a couple weeks ago and are still harvesting eggplant, red, yellow and Jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

We haven’t had enough tomatoes at any one time to can, but we’ve been able to share a lot and have roasted several batches (stored in olive oil in the frig they will last a couple weeks), which are great on top of grilled fish or added to pasta, and we have been eating them in omelets, paninis, and of course salads.

We’ve had several failures along the way: carrots (only a few “short” carrots were harvested), beets (too small), beans (we just don’t have enough space to grow the amount needed to provide us with more than a meal or two), and squash. How, you may ask, can someone fail at growing squash? We are determined to learn the answer and will spend the winter consulting with Farmer D and reading (on top of the list are: Carrots Love Tomatoes, Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte and Food Not Lawns by H. C. Flores—a very thoughtful gift from our friends Bobby, Joanna and Jasper) so that we are better prepared next spring. We’ve also learned just how much work it takes to maintain a garden and that we don’t have enough space to grow the amount we’d like to.

Our success, of course, has been with the hens. They are healthy and provide us with 4 eggs everyday. We have been eating as many as we can and giving the rest away to friends and family. Two dozen eggs a week is a lot for a family of two, but they are so good. Mr. Man eats eggs in the morning and I’ve begun making omelets on the weekends—there is nothing better than eating your own eggs filled with veggies you’ve grown in your garden. Trust me on this one.

I’m hoping to extend the garden a little in the spring so that we can fit two additional 4’ x 4’ beds and plant three blueberry bushes. And, Mr. Man is building me a couple of cold frames for the beds so that we can get an early start next spring. We also need to think of an aesthetically pleasing way to section off the hens’ roaming area from the rest of the backyard, especially the patio.

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