Overall, October was a pretty month and a good month for growing once we got past that initial little frost on October 5. The leaves turned golden and gently covered the ground. The skies turned that deeper blue as autumn temperatures and angles changed. Birds gathered into noisy flocks that filled trees and barn roofs and power lines. The flowers intensified in color to lure the few remaining insects to pollinate. If one avoided the news, the rising virus numbers, and the election ads, it was a peaceful stretch of lovely days. And there were two beautiful full moons this month.
Many of the crops ended in October, filling the days with picking and preserving. The last of the beans were harvested and all the pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash were brought in. Lots of beets were pickled, and peas were picked. There have been ample amounts of lovely radishes, lettuces, carrots and cabbages. The eggplants and melons were savored, knowing they were the last. Tomatoes still abound in baskets and boxes in the garage and are slowly being used or preserved.
The green tomato salad was a hit, but it definitely needs fresh cilantro to bring out the other flavors. Lots of apples have been eaten this month: pies, crisps, cobblers, salads, and dumplings. We had a “hard” frost on October 16 that ended the final bean plantings, even though they were covered.
The bulb planting began at a slow and leisurely pace, tidying gardens as I went and dividing a few perennials as well. Dahlias were dug, cleaned and stored. Braids of shallots and onions were all moved to the allium rack in the garage to prevent freezing, since the Lady Cottage has no heat or insulation.
Garlic was planted on October 9 and 10, and is now emerging nicely, since we finally received some much-needed rain on the 20th and the 29th, which is also helping the spinach and beets to grow nicely.
Compost was hauled to top off beds as they were emptied, or put around roses and leeks and the black currant bushes. Some wire tomato cages were also put around the currants in an effort to keep the deer from pruning them so drastically again this winter.
For the numbers: 206.5 lbs. were harvested in October, compared to 184.25 last year and 68 in 2018, so the effort to extend the harvest is working well. Twenty-four cans/packages were preserved despite my lethargy and vows that canning was “done” in September! The bags of garlic and baskets of pumpkins, squash, etc. are not counted as “preserved” items.
So, now we are ready for November, which began with snow flurries and a hard frost yesterday. It may have “done in” the peas this time. I am no longer praying for rain, or good weather because the season is pretty well over, and the crops that remain in the garden (leeks, kale, carrots, parsnips, parsley, dill, kohlrabi, cabbages, turnips, spinach, etc.) are on their own until needed, although once the bulbs are planted, the carrots and kohlrabi and the last of the beets will be brought in before the ground freezes solid. Forecast is for some nice weather this week, and the job list is long…..