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fall gardening

I was raised gardening. We always had a huge garden when i was growing up. enough to feed our large family, give to friends, and preserve for the winter. My mom always put away 100 pints of corn and 100 quarts of tomatoes. she started with juice and then realized whole tomatoes were easier and just as useful. She also did pickles and freezer jams and green beans and often other things as well but we always had a lot of corn and tomatoes.

My dad drove truck so it varied on when the garden got put in. We always put it in in a couple of days and everyone pitched in. I remember putting in the corn, because those seeds were big for the grasping of little hands. I remember being told not to touch my face and wash my hands and for gods sake don’t eat the little corn, the pink stuff on them is poison.  Then dad would leave for the road and all the maintenance fell on us kids. Usually we would ignore it until word came that he was coming back and then we would desultorily do some weeding but we would never get through the endless rows of corn and tomatoes and would get hollered at for being the lazy goodfornothings we were. i swore when i had my own garden i would never grow corn and tomatoes.

the big thing i got out of it was the rhythm of the conventional garden. Till in the spring, anytime after May 15 and plant it all in a couple of days at most. weed all summer, harvest in the fall. Maybe if loads permit put in another batch of corn 2 weeks after the first.

Now its different. i plant pretty much year around. i love the idea of fall crops. the little lettuces and arugula are coming along nicely. I hope to get in some spinach yet. two of the three garlic i planted have already come up and i plan on putting in another head or two yet. I still hope to turn over a full 120 square foot bed and build a little stone wall (out of all the rocks and stones i’ve turned up) around it. saturday i hope to pick up a 1/4 scoop of sand (about 800 #s). I want to add about 300 in the horseshoe pits and the other 5 in the rest of the garden bed.

After the leaves fall on the bush honey locust i am going to cut that down and haul it to the mulch pile. i am going to pull some of the ivies and other crap plants and put in some native wildflower mixes, showy goldenrod and a native clover. I am also going to add a row of paw paw trees across the back of my little wildflower bed. I may lay out a path through the new beds with the trunks of the honey locust. While i’m cutting i’m going to cut back on the mimosa branches from the neighbor’s tree that hang over and hopefully bring a little more light.

And of course spring bulbs, perhaps another mum, and maybe some other fall plants will go in. Fall is as jam packed with planting as spring and they are coming together in my mind, even as i put my carrot bed to sleep. i harvested them last week, piss poor i must say, but i’ll let you know how they taste. i covered that bed with leaves, raked just for that purpose, and will cover that with coffee grounds as soon as my grounds container gets filled up. theres a pot of a delicious triple certified blend from kaldis getting ready to go in the mix right now. closing loops and completing the circle. things are still pretty messed up but some things at least are heading back again in the right direction.

Categories: childhood, gardening
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