August 14, 2020

Prepping the Fall Garden

I’m up early to check the progress of the garden. Bands of heavy and light rain alternate, making it difficult to check on the pole beans in Zone C. That’s the garden plot next to the sawmill, where the nearly complete hoop house sits.

Too curious to care about staying dry, I slip on a pair of loafers and a hat. A quick look is all I need.

The beans planted Monday, four days ago, love the rain. Cotyledons pushed through the loamy soil. Their lime green stems stark against the dark compost. It’s not hard to imagine that they’ll need a trellis soon.

Broccoli, Swiss Chard, and Kale seedlings peek out from the front porch nursery. The taller sprouts lean forward for a glimpse of the cloud-covered sun. “Sorry guys, I’m keeping you from getting washed away.”

Breakfast dishes done; countertops cleared. It’s the perfect time to dirty up pots, and clutter up the Corian. It’s time to make a first attempt at making tomato sauce. Cored and scored tomatoes from the freezer are defrosted. Fresh ripe tomatoes of the day are dipped in a hot bath of boiling water and then plopped into an ice bath. The wrinkled skin separates.

Thirteen tomatoes don’t take long to cook down into a sauce. It fills a quart jar but not to the top. Not enough to can. No problem, it’s for tonight’s chili dinner.

The sun shows its face. The UPS guy delivers metal hoops for caterpillar tunnels. It’s a race to see how much Dick and I can get done before the rain returns.

Caterpillar tunnels

Germinating fall plants can be challenging in the 90+ degree summer heat. A trick to stop evaporation and to speed up the process is to cover the bed with a board or cardboard until the seeds sprout.

The premium greens sprouted after two days. I removed the cardboard from their half of the bed but still worried about the high Virginia temperatures and humidity.

No sign of the carrots. However, lifting off the cardboard, I found termites and a blue-tailed skink. I don’t know if termites eat carrot seeds, so I keep the bed uncovered. With the arrival of the hoops, it solved the problem of what would cover the 2’x16′ bed.

It didn’t take long to set the hoops and the row cover.

Kentucky Blue Pole beans

I feel like I’m in the fairy tale of Jack and the beanstalk. The beans seem to grow by the hour. The first true leaves are showing; they’re not slowing despite the limited sunlight.

Water irrigation – one small step upgrading from hand watering; a soaker hose stapled between the double row of beans.

Harvested T-posts from the edge of the old property border hammered along the bean row. An old wire fence from the previous owners will become the trellis. Not too bad for shopping from home.

Hoop wires and row covers added. Will it keep the rabbits out?

Chili Pie with Cornbread

Chili for dinner. Oh, so good.

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