Monday, October 20, 2008

The Garden Giveth, The Frost Taketh Away


Last night's frost and a temperature of 32.9 put an end to the tomatoes and okra. Surprisingly the jalapenos are fine and of course the turnip greens didn't flinch.

I took this opportunity to clean everything off, put down a layer of leaves and till them in.
There's still a tremendous amount of maple leaves in the yard that haven't fallen that will be added later.

In this year of increasing food prices and uncertainty, the goal was maximum yield. Nature didn't comply. A drought from the middle of July, with a five week stretch without rain, put a damper on freezing and canning. We only put up about a third of the tomatoes, green beans and okra that we normally do.

On the positive side we have not been without fresh tomatoes for a single day since the third week of June and even gave away a lot. The potato crop of Yukon Gold, Red and Cobbler was excellent and we still have 70 pounds or so left. Our local version of Vidalia onions did real well and there are a few left. We had salads of five different lettuces and spinach every day for six straight weeks this spring and that was a treat.

The apple and pear crops were very good and thanks to friends we were able to get all we wanted. We put up over 70 jars of preserves and pie fillings that will last a long while.

Last week I picked up about 400 pounds of black walnuts in the hull from a friend's yard and have been running over them with the truck to break them open. I don't look forward to the process of getting the 'nut meat' out but it will be something to do this winter and supply us with nutritious snacks and baking additions.

Hopefully we'll try the gardening again next year.

There's nothing like organic produce.


  1. Hey Kenny... anarchore sent me this way. Liked the garden spot. How do you build up your soil? Just till and fertilize? I need to learn how to garden very soon with the economy slipping away. Know any good references for the midTn area.

  2. I was lucky to have a spot where a barn with animals once stood.

    I don't have a good source of manure except for a little for manure tea to boost the plants at strategic times.

    I do use a significant amount of leaves in the fall to till in and although I boycott buying anything from Starbucks I have used a few tons of their free coffee grounds until they closed the closest store to me. I also compost everything I can, mostly the trench method or in beds.

    or click on the 'gardening' label on this post for some more info.

    I only use organic methods and my suggestion is to just search the internet for local growers who have some tips. Except for planting dates specific to your area most anything you find will be helpful. 'Organic Gardening" magazine was always a good source.

    If you know any local gardeners to talk to, do that. I was fortunate to have a friend/mentor over 25 years ago that taught me a lot and confirmed what I had learned from books and in practice.

    Good luck.