The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, October 29, 2012

Late October Garden Chores

Well, although I adore autumn, getting the garden ready for winter is not one of my favorite autumn tasks.  I do love harvest season, hot as it may be in late summer!

This year, October garden chores included a few changes, and a new chore.

First of all, Joseph and Thomas helped to transplant the two perennial oregano plants we have had growing in our veggie garden for several years.

Although they are perennial and not supposed to be that flavorful, we have found them to be just that--very yummy in sauces and other dishes.  Since the critters seem to leave them alone, I decided they would do fine in my front yard flower garden.

They are prolific growers--not in seeding and spreading themselves, but in producing the fragrant, flavorful leaves--so I harvest them throughout the summer and autumn.  Sometimes I harvest and dry the leaves, and sometimes I let the plant go to flower, then cut them for display in vases indoors--so pretty with its delicate purple flowers.

I think they go well with the beard-tongue, which you can see still flowering in pink in the background below.

Here's what I do with the flowering oregano; it's in a vase on my fireplace mantel:

After the oregano was transplanted, Thomas set about digging up any garlic that had begun to re-grow from dropped seeds, and transplanting the seedlings to the area where we had just dug up the oregano.  (We had filled in the holes with some extra compost we had left over from spring.)

On our last sunny and very warm autumn day (October 24), my friend Lori's son Bryan came over and helped work some manure into next year's tomato bed.  He also worked in the rest of the leftover compost, and then covered my strawberry plants with straw to protect them for the winter.  (The straw-covering was our new chore for the year.)

In the below photo, you may not be able to see it but the guys took some bird netting (for protecting plants from birds; I bought it at Home Depot), and secured it over the straw.  They innovatively used a stapler to secure the netting to the sides of the raised bed.  :)

They took the leftover straw and covered some of the walkways with it.  I like the straw better than grass clippings, which we have been using in the past.  The straw seems to keep the walkways drier.  We'll see how it works come spring and wet weather!

Here is the final overview of our "winterized" garden, complete with straw-covered walkways (until we ran out of straw!):

That evening, the sun went down behind incoming clouds which brought rain and a 30-degree temperature drop.

I was very thankful for Bryan's hard work with the compost and hay, and for Thomas' and Joseph's hard work transplanting herbs and garlic so we could expand the garden next year!

Back to life,

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our October Garden

October in our vegetable garden usually means harvesting the remaining vegetables, and getting things ready for winter.  Here are a few things we tackled in the garden on this particular October day.

My friend Lori had already harvested all her tomatoes, so one job was to glean any green ones she left behind, and cut out the tangled mass of tomato vines in the bed.  They had gotten really jungly over the summer!

We had also harvested our plum tomatoes, and all that remained were the bottoms of the tomato plants to pull up.

I did a quick check of my strawberry plants.  There were four surviving plants this past spring; as you can see below, they grew like mad this year!

I pulled this entire rosemary plant to chop up the needle-like leaves for the freezer.

My sweet Joseph helped out so much!  Here he is harvesting all the cayenne peppers.  It was pretty easy--I told him to pick everything that was red.  For some reason, all my cayenne peppers turned red this year.  That has never happened before.

Below is the remaining basil and the rosemary plant I pulled.  I picked all the basil leaves, then chopped and froze them for use this winter.

Danny came out to help after doing his college homework; he pulled up tomato cages, stacked them, and put them away.

I also had him dig a nice, big hole in my front flower garden.  :)

He dug up my sage plant from the backyard vegetable garden and transplanted it into the front flower garden.

Below is the sage in its new home.  It flowers purple and has a beautiful scent, and I used cuttings from it to decorate my home throughout the summer.  The critters don't eat it, and I don't use much sage in cooking.  So it will do better out here.  I plan to do the same with my perennial oregano plants.

Joseph continued to cut, break, pull, and throw tomato vines onto our growing pile of garden refuse.

That pile grew quite large after awhile!

Since I always go up to the deck of our pool to capture my wide-angle garden shots, I thought I'd snap a shot of my special place.  The tree looks so pretty this autumn, and has already turned color since this picture was taken.

Here's our garden, with everything pulled.  We want to work in some manure and cover everything with mulch for the winter, in order to replenish the soil for our spring planting.

Back to life,

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Talking to Jacob

Jacob is at college.  And we all miss him.  Every now and then I'll try to talk to him via phone, but he always seems too busy.  But then, later, he'll text me and say he wants to Skype at a certain time.  So we do.

Sharing tea and conversation via Skype.

We love Skype!

Back to life,

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Is Not Our Stuff!

The day had finally come!  We were so excited, and not just for us.

This is not our stuff!

We had stored a garage full of stuff for my parents as they sold their house and waited while a new one was built.  And the day was here--moving day.  They had already had their moving/storage company come on a Thursday, and we were ready for an all-day Friday and all-day Saturday moving event for the remaining items that were stored at our house.

Getting the truck ready for loading.

Fat wood!

Housewarming gift.

The sky threatened rain, so Danny thoughtfully got the truck bed covered.  He got creative with tying the tarp down after we searched but couldn't find the real tie-downs.

My parents' new place!


I was so focused on unwrapping each kitchen item, that I simply tossed the packing paper aside.  Here's what it looked like after just two (large) boxes.

Mom had to get into her bedroom...

Later, Joseph kindly and diligently folded it all.

We had a good start on the kitchen.

Day Two.

Saturday--Fernando was involved this time.  The guys quickly went to work getting the truck, and the Suburban, loaded with everything.  We loaded a lot of the rest of the stuff from the garage, and we also loaded everything from the basement.

No time for pictures at my parents' house--my brothers and sister-in-law were also there, and we spent all afternoon unpacking, moving, eating pizza, coughing (Char and I were both sick), and unpacking some more.  And playing.  :)

We didn't know what this thing was, so my brothers and I decided to try it out as a tandem walker.

We thought my parents should try it, too, but they didn't quite know what direction to go in.

Really, it's the base for a Ping-Pong table.  Why they have a Ping-Pong table still, I'm not sure.  But we had fun with it, anyway.

Back to life,

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Late September Garden

Here's what was happening in my garden, late September.

Overview of an overgrown garden!

Some marigolds were still blooming in the corners of the green bean patch:

All my cayenne peppers turned red this year:

My plum tomato harvest remained steady throughout the summer:

I planted only a few jalapeƱo plants this year; I harvested them once early on, then just let them grow the rest of the summer.  They got really big.

The strawberry plants grew and grew, expanding to fill a whole square section!

Strawberry leaves

I let the oregano go to flower, since I had already harvested so much this year.

Time to pick the rest of the carrots!  This sweet Nantes variety is short and stubby.

Finally, I had another large harvest of cherry tomatoes.  These were extraordinarily sweet!

Back to life,

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