Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October's Garden (2017)

This is the month of transition when the summer vegetables die and the winter vegetables move to center stage.  All remaining summer vegetables and herbs must be picked or they will be lost.  

A heavy frost hit two nights ago and so the garden has changed. The okra in the row to the far left has been frozen and the next two rows of Lima beans are almost dead. We have begun pulling up the plants as we harvest the last few beans.  The row on the right is the miscellaneous area.  Some things are dead, others are thriving.

In the center of the garden is the strawberry bed which has come back to life now that the weather has cooled.  The net is still off because birds are not bothering them.  We think our neighbor's cat is keeping the bird and squirrel population under control.

The peanuts have been harvested and so their area is empty. The tomatoes which were tied to the stakes are now dead due to the frost.  The green tomatoes were harvested and brought inside in hopes they will ripen.  On the right side are the sweet potatoes which are almost completely black from frost damage.  The potatoes will be fine underground for a short while.

For a few days after a hard frost, the garden is a strange mix of live and dead plants.  The summer plants are dying while the winter plants continue to grow.

Basil (left) lettuce (right)
Swiss Chard (left) Amaranth (right)

It was a productive month with many successes. The Tahitian Butternut squash which sprouted in the compost pile then grew down the fence and out into the field, died early. The vines in the field were doing fine because they rooted as they spread, but those hanging on the fence suffered.  We went a month without rain. It was too dry deep under the compost pile and so the roots could not support the large plant. I suppose I should have watered the huge compost pile but it would have required a large volume of water. 

We waded out into the tall grass in the field and followed the vines to find the squash.  I think we have enough to last us through the winter.

"Help me I am squashed!"
Only one of the banana melons ripened because they were planted so late in the season.  I threw a few seeds in an empty spot and did not expect anything.  It was not a disappointment since we got one.  The gamble paid off.

"Smells yellow."

It ripened while Dustin was home for Fall break so of course, I shared. The flavor was like a mild, creamy cantaloupe but it was stronger and sweeter since it was allowed to ripen on the vine.

A big job was harvesting the peanuts.  We waited until after a heavy rain and gently pulled them out of the mud.

They will need a few weeks to dry in the sunshine so we spread them on the grass in a circle with the peanuts inside and the leaves outside. This prevents Scooter from "watering" the peanuts as he walks past. We have not pulled the peanuts off the vines yet, nor washed them either.  It will be a chore for a pleasant Fall day.  During previous years we put them close to the house to discourage squirrels from helping themselves. This year they are not a problem.

The biggest job will be digging up the sweet potatoes. This year the vines exceeded all expectations.  They grew through the tomato plants, up the stakes and out in the walking path.  Bill kept them from taking over the backyard by mowing the outer edge.

Now the vines are dying and we will be harvesting them soon.  I hope the vines are an indication we have a great crop under the soil. We shall see.

The winter garden is growing but would look better if I stopped harvesting everything. Sometime soon, depending on the weather, I will be putting up the hoop houses.

The collard greens love the cool weather and are growing fast. They will be saved until deep in the winter when all the other vegetables are gone.  When it is freezing cold and I yearn for something fresh, then I will bundle up and brave the winter to pick something delicious.

One season has ended and another has begun.



  1. That is really a bountiful harvest! So many peanuts and surely a great amount of sweet potatoes that you will dig out. That banana melon looks fully developed. I think, the ones bought in stores are often too immature. What do you do with all these peanuts? Do you also use them for baking? I have never used peanuts in my kitchen
    and I know peanut butter only by the name. Of course it can be bought
    in shops.
    Swiss chard is a true stand-by vegetable. Unfortunately we are not fond of its flavour. That is why I grow lots of spinach instead.
    With this rich harvest in fall and with collard greens and other green leaves you can be hopeful to create a fresh-healthy cuisine in
    coming winter.

    1. When we get all the peanuts picked off of the vines, I will take pictures of the whole harvest. We love them. We shell them then roast them with salt and a little butter - eaten hot right out of the oven is best. We also take the roasted nuts and blend them (with a little oil) to make peanut butter. The taste is far superior to store bought brands. Most of the peanuts will sit in a bowl in the kitchen where they will be healthy snacks for anyone who walks past. This year's harvest is much larger than last year's. I think it is due to the rain we got during the summer. They will store in the cool basement until next year without any problems.

      I have used them in baking, but not often. They are good mixed in granola. My favorite is peanut butter. I could eat it everyday if I let myself.

      Christel, buy a jar and give it a try! If you like it, I will mail you some for seeds so you can try and grow them.

  2. I love your garden updates! It is always so interesting to see the things you grow over there that we can't grow here, such as peanuts:) You grow so much food! I'd love to see a picture of your canning cupboards!

    I am so excited because Rob did get into the garden on Monday evening when I was at work and tilled up what he could. He spared all of the winter veggies--just went around them. That is a big difference between our old place where he used the tractor to till up everything. It wasn't as selective as the smaller tiller. It was a lot less work, though. Now, we will throw any vines and compost right on top of the tilled garden and have him till again in the spring after it's all had a chance to rot during the winter. We also hope to get some bags of steer manure to spread on this fall. This is only possible because the garden is so small. I am still quite pleased at how much we got out of there, though.

  3. You should be pleased with all the things you got out of your garden. It was smaller than mine but very productive and quite impressive. The steer manure causes me to be envious.

    I think of you as I am typing my garden posts. I ask myself, "What would Becky want to see?" and that keeps me focused. Sometimes I feel like something is too trivial like taking pictures of dead plants! But then, I get a request for pictures of my cupboards. I love looking at other people's cupboards (the ones Rob built for you are very sturdy and roomy). My canning cupboard is spread over three stories, between two closets, one laundry room, a basement, the garage, an entertainment center and of course, the kitchen cabinets. Perhaps this winter I can get organized better. Perhaps?

    1. I love seeing it all! So easily amused:) I don't care it it's in 10 places---whatever works!

      I showed Harnet the coffee post, and tried to explain that people really liked it (she totally understood that and was pleased.) Then, I said that "Jeannie in Tennessee" was getting some coffee beans and was going to try making coffee like she did. (I think I lost her there--but she sure enjoyed looking at the post. I could see some confusion in those beautiful brown eyes, and I could see the question marks in them---who was this Jeannie, where was Tennessee, and so forth?) My sister and I helped her find the post on her phone, and hopefully, she can find it again later, as that is what she hopes to do. If not, we will help her next time. Later on, when she understands blogging/computers/etc. more and more, I just want to make sure she approves of what was posted way back when she didn't quite have it all figured out, yet. I read the entire post to her and she said it was "like a story." She liked it. Whew. No pressure there!!!

    2. As an explanation to my readers, Becky's friend Harnet is new to America. Whenever anyone visits, Harnet roasts fresh coffee beans in her living room and makes coffee for her guests. It is a tradition she brings from her home country. I asked Becky to share pictures and detailed instructions so I can try it, not in my living room, of course since I might burn the house down. I am a big coffee drinker and always in search of a new flavor. When I get the unroasted coffee beans, not easy when you live in the middle of nowhere, I will give it a try.

      Link to the post on Becky's blog.

  4. Wow, Jeannie! What an amazing garden and abundance of produce. The peanuts are fascinating and I could hardly believe all the Zucchini you harvested. I admire your farming skills and am ready for a nap!!

    1. I take no credit for the squash. It sprouted in the compost pile and grew as it pleased. All I did was climb over the fence (not easy for a woman my age) and harvested it.

      Next year the garden will be smaller!!!!

  5. I'm ashamed to admit that, as a lifelong big city dweller, I have never seen freshly harvested peanuts...and didn't know they grew in the ground like a root vegetable. I thought they grew on trees like other nuts! Goes to show how far removed I am from the source of the food I eat. I look forward to the day when I can grow my own fruit and vegetables (I only have an apartment balcony now, which makes it more difficult). While I don't think I will ever be as successful a gardener as you are, I enjoy reading these posts and daydreaming about attempting to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. I am honored by such a kind comment. I don't know how to respond. Thank you.

      I too am now encouraged and inspired to continue writing. Thank you for spending the time writing a comment.

  6. So interesting to see your garden in different stages! Am looking forward to your peanut post! And of course Scooter is a star in any post!

  7. Your garden is amazing. You've grown so much wonderful and healthy food. Well done lady!

    1. Bill and I spent today digging sweet potatoes and we are so sore! Every muscle hurts. We only got half of them dug and I am glad we stopped when we did or we would not be able to move. Perhaps tomorrow we will finish, if we can get out of bed.

      Getting old stinks.

  8. Jeannie--thanks for stopping by my blog. I actually am enjoying trying to focus on using things up. I can't wait to hear how you do.

    Impressive garden!

    1. Lisa, your blog is wonderful, all about saving money and being frugal. I accepted Lisa's challenge and opened up my makeup drawer to see what could be used up.

      I discovered Scooter's hairbrush right on top. Why did it put it there last night? I put it away and dug further down to realize the reason the drawer keeps sticking, too much junk. I picked out one bottle of lotion and moved it to the top drawer to use up. I achieved my goal and earned a gold star. I also noticed all the junk needing to be organized. Time to set another goal.