Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

Autumn is here

March 15, 2009

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hydrangeas

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It was a typical Autumn day today…. after raining all night, the sun rose to a beautiful day. Bright sun but with a slight cool breeze coming from the south east, it warmed up the soil just enough to evaporate the droplets on the leaves, but the soil remained moist. We are enjoying the last sunny days before the plants pack up for another long winter. The top photo is Nerine fothergilli “Major” which is a really nice Autumn bulb to have around. I find them to be very reliable bloomers. The pink Nerines will come a bit later, I can see their flower buds peeking out of the bulbs already.

The second photo is a lovely Hydrangea that was one of the only decent things in the garden when we moved in. But it was tiny, and has tripled in size since we started taking care of it!

The third photo is a patch of Cyclamen hederifolium in one of the garden beds. I have grown hundreds of Cyclamen from seed over the last few years, and I have given away some as presents or trades, but most have now been planted in my new garden over the summer. A few are flowering too, but not enough to put on a good show, I will have to wait until next year I think! For now I will admire their pretty leaves.

The last photo is Puss Cat in her favorite spot in the corner of one of the veggie beds; now that the corn is gone she has it to herself for a while, at least until I plant something else there!

Of course this nice weather never lasts long, and a couple of hours later my view from the kitchen was this:

rain

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March 1 is Corn Day

March 1, 2009

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Not officially, but I proclaim it as Corn Day in this household, since this is the first time harvesting corn in my new veggie patches! I love the fact that corn comes in its own enviromnentally-friendly packaging. But did you know this packaging can be a problem in the field when harvesting? According to this website, and a few other farming websites, corn can overheat in its husks if harvested during the heat of the day. To avoid this only harvest corn in the morning, before the heat has had a chance to build up, or have vacuum cooling equipment as part of the harvesting equipment on site. For home gardeners, it is easy to harvest the same day you plan to eat them, and this keeps as much sugar as possible from turning into starch inside the kernels. Putting the water on to boil before going outside to pick the corn ensures super sweet corn!

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Also from that same website, I learned that more sugar is produced on cooler sunny days rather then hot days. I think I inadvertantly timed my corn perfectly to harvest on the first day of Autumn. I am going to grow even more corn next Summer, and this time use a mulch to keep the moisture level more even as I only put the sprinklers on the veggie patches once a week. But for now, I can’t wait til my next cob.

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Pumpkins!

February 25, 2009

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Besides a few tomatoes, I haven’t harvested much in the last few weeks. But now in late February there is a definite Autumn feel in the air, and it’s been raining the last few days which is really slowing things down. Bright orange pumpkins my mind signify Autumn as we always had them in the garden when I was little, more often then not they used to sprout from the seeds thrown into the compost heap! Continuing with the Autumn theme is the sound of sweetcorn leaves rustling in the breeze, the cobs should be ready to pick next week. I haven’t grown corn since 2003 so I’m very excited to harvest them. This week I planted my cabbage, broccoli & cauliflower seedlings, and I have to sow some more brussels sprouts because only one seed germinated. My parsnips now have two sets of leaves, and I sowed two rows of carrots, turnips and one of radish this week too. I plan to sow even more carrots after I pull the corn out, I can never seem to have enough carrots. I hope we have a warm March so that all my Winter-harvest veggies can get a good framework of foliage established before the temperatures start to drop. I’m in unknown territory here because it’s the first time I’m growing broccoli, parsnips, turnips, cabbage & brussels sprouts and while I’m quite familiar with Spring & Summer timing for seed-starting & transplanting, I never took much notice of this opposite time of year. The timing is not actually as hard as the space juggling, with most of the space being taken up by the corn & tomatoes which haven’t finished yet. But as of next week I should be able to pull up the rest of the pumpkins & squashes, the corn, and the capsicums. I pulled out the last of the lettuce which had gone to seed, and the eggplants which didn’t produce anything so were a total waste ofย  time! I then should have room to direct-sow some brussels sprouts & more carrots. Oh I almost forgot, I sowed an Autumn crop of peas today just as an experiment. I didn’t have any room for them in spring, but I have a bit now next to the raspberries, so I put up some chicken wire between two of the raspberry posts. I have pretty much mastered beans, but peas still elude me somewhat, so I will have to practice with them some more. I just really need to do more gardening ๐Ÿ˜€