Saturday, November 6, 2010

Summer Recap, Heading Into Fall

Wow! Recapping this past summer, all I can say is H-O-T!!! And add a lot of Bermuda grass...

What do you do when you discover Bermuda grass has invaded your 5,000 square foot garden, and you don't use chemicals... Well, we did some research, and came up with what we think is a pretty good plan. We planted an orchard! And we're using black plastic to smother out the devil grass for future raised beds. All in all, it's a good alternative to either going crazy trying to control the invader, poisoning the earth, or giving up. None of the above for us! This has worked beautifully. Despite the heat, we now have a wealth of healthy fruit trees and bushes thriving in our garden. Here is what we planted:
  • Johnny Red apples
  • Macintosh apples
  • Royal Cherry
  • Tartarian Cherry
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Blueberry bushes
  • Blackberry bushes
  • Raspberries (but they didn't make it)
  • Strawberries
  • Asparagus (not a fruit, but a perennial nonetheless - and, yum!)
  • Horseradish - another perennial
  • Concord grapes (kinda iffy)
  • A variety of hardy herbs
In addition, we squeezed tomatoes, eggplants and yardlong beans into the mix, since the trees won't be tall enough to block out the sun for years to come.

We also utilized the kitchen garden for our peppers, onions, more tomatoes, cucumbers, flowers and herbs. So far no Bermuda grass has managed to encroach that close to the house.

Our Aurucana baby chicks are getting BIG now, and they are just fantastic. So much fun to watch. It's like having a flock of eagles in your back yard. They have finally bonded with the barred rocks, and all are now equitably sharing the henhouse.

Sheep and goats doing fine. We were a little worried when the heat index hit 110 and stuck there for what felt like weeks (and probably was). Fortunately they have the shade from the woods behind our house, and they made full use of it, believe me.

The bad news - so busy with Peaceacre business, we did not get a fall garden in. We're going to miss lettuce in April, and the fine Brussels Sprouts flavor of turnips hoop-housed all throughout the winter. We're relying on our farmers market friends to keep us in fresh high tunnel produce this winter.

Finally gave the windows to build cold frames away to a friend - good luck, Eric! We held onto them for a solid year, then thought, what the heck are we actually going to do with these now that our garden is an orchard???

Again, wow! It's been a busy summer and fall. But we feel pretty good, our animals are happy, our freezer is full of veggies. So we didn't get it all done... But we had a lot of fun.

We will give you updates on how planting an orchard to fight Bermuda grass works out!