October Mid-Month Meanderings

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october mid month meanderings at grow and resist japanese blood grassThe autumn sun on the Japanese Blood Grass as it glows through the bamboo is stunning

October is bringing the Seattleites the summer we never had. Or at least the sunshine we never had. It is everything a fall should be ~ sunny skies and the tiptoeing in of crisp air.

Fall was my favorite season for a long time. Maybe it still is. I am not sure. I think I now love the idea of fall. You see, I have incredibly high standards and beliefs about what a season looks & acts like and Seattle consistently lets me down in the fall.

Before Seattle, I was living in Iowa. And Iowa has a spectacular fall. The air is clean and crisp, the leaves light up and fall, the shortening days still warm nicely and you can’t quite yet see your breath in the evenings. The sweaters get pulled out and rain gear is never considered.

Upon moving to Seattle, I realized fall came in the form of a few unpredictable days randomly interspersed in a period otherwise characterized as a “return to gloom.” I cherished those few days because generally, in Seattle, by the time the leaves start falling, the rain has long since commenced and we are just left with soggy leaves and the thought of staring 7 months of mostly rain in the face. Kind of depressing huh? Being let down at this time of the year is harsh for a gal who needs some blue sky & sunshine. (As my grandma used to say, I need “enough blue to make a pair of jeans.” )

But not 2010. Seattle is rockin’ Fall 2010! I think we are getting some sort of karmic break from a mostly cool & sloshy summer as we head into a predicted colder/wetter-than-normal winter. (seriously? wetter? really? I’m crying. Or will be soon.)

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist vine mapleThe vine maple’s leaves are changing

This fall is full of sunshine. Blue skies! Crunchy leaves! A Babylady exclaiming “LOOK! LOOK! It’s a fall tree! LOOK!” It is incredible and I, for one, am soaking every last bit up.

But, back to the garden. It is looking a bit rough. Unfinished. You see, I had minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago and am not supposed to do any lifting, twisting and such. A lot of tasks are at a standstill except for things I can finangle a way to do 1-handed.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist delicata squashMy first time growing winter squash & they did well despite a bad case of powdery mildew. But are they ready to harvest? I am going to wait till they have a few more colder nights on them and they try one and judge.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist pineapple sagePretty Pineapple Sage ~ this was a new plant this year and it really does have a pineapple taste to it. I don’t love it used in the place of regular ol’ sage, but the flowers are pretty and the hummingbirds love the red flowers. It’s a keeper. I imagine the flavor would be nice in some jam but I haven’t tried it. Yet.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist spiderwebStill spider webs everywhere. I have had an impossible time getting a great picture of them, but this guy seems to have caught a bee. Wow.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist buff orpington chickenThis lovely lady is One of the Annies. She is apparently anti-nest box and will only lay her eggs inside her run underneath the ramp up to the coop. Which is at the opposite end of the run from my access. Meaning a crawl through the run to gather eggs. Not cool.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resistDo you know what IS cool? A super handy dad that will build a new access door right where Annie lays her eggs AND will get me easier access to where I hang their food. Yay for dads!

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist chicken coopSee? Handy Dad made the new door/access on the run. And secured the ramp while he was at it.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist buff orpington chickenSee this gal? The other Annie?

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist polish chicken

Or Calypso & her wild, wild hair?

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist trampled leeks

Well, they aren’t laying eggs yet. But they are trampling and ruining leeks.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist leeksLuckily not all the leeks or the girls and I would need to have a chat.

I put in mixed fall/winter cover crops in several of the open beds. I sort of protected the seeds and then growing crops from the chickens with either floating row cover or bird netting. I did remove the covering for a day when I thought the plants might be big enough to withstand the chickens. I was very wrong. They demolished parts of the planted areas in about 8.3 seconds. So, for now, while the chickens free range during the day the cover crops have some protection. At some point I’ll put up some temporary/moveable fencing to keep them out of areas I don’t want them destroying. But for now this will do.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist fall cover cropTrying to keep the chickens away. The bird netting is mostly working.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist fall cover cropAnother method of keeping the chickens out. Mostly. Those chickens are driven I tell you!

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist fall cover crop and lettuceHard to tell but I planted a bunch of lettuce and arugula among the cover crop. This area is under the season extending hoop house. In hindsight I planted the cover crop way too close to the lettuces. Oh well. It is still working at this point and I have more greens to plant

october mid month meanderings at grow and resistFloating row cover down after planting garlic. The little ladies in the background are diggers. I’ll be getting some straw in the next week or so to mulch the bed. I planted the bed entirely with garlic leaving space throughout to plant tomatoes in the summer next year. Planning ahead (for once).

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist garlic bedThe other garlic bed that I’m trying to protect from my flock of diggers. Again, straw coming in the next week for mulching.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist echinaceaThis beauty speaks for herself. Echinacea loveliness!

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist leaves piling upMust get leaves up. I am planning on getting them moved to the parking strip I sheet mulched to add another layer.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resistRandom cute spot. That is lovage in the back. But see the painted mold at the bottom?

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist slugs and eggsThis is what I found inside the mold!!! Slugs and slug eggs! Eww.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist blueberry bushNew blueberry bush… searching for the perfect spot to call home.

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist brussel sproutsThe sprouts are getting bigger. I love looking at these lil’ guys!

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist kiwi in aspen groveOur kiwi is out of control. It has climbed all over the place and then up through 2 aspen trees and is out of reach. An example of “Right Plant Wrong Place.”

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist kaleKale for sale! No, not really… but we have loads of it

october mid month meanderings at grow and resist easter-egger chickenThirsty Boots and her fluffy bum. Cuteness.

And that wraps up October’s garden meander. Stick around for next month and hopefully a nice, tidy put to bed for the winter garden!

Later this week I’ll fill you in on peppers for Can Jam! I scored on 15 pounds* of hot peppers last month and was busy getting scorched!

(*if you weren’t sure, 15 pounds of hot peppers is a near-ridiculous amount for a household of 2 adults & 1 child)

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