A few weekends ago, we spent all afternoon in our gardens. It’s that time of year…everything is DEAD (at least in OUR summertime garden!) Usually, by the time fall rolls around, I’m *beyond* ready to put the garden to bed for the winter!
Here’s a pic of our last harvest as we ripped up the vines and made a new compost pile…
1 lone carrot (that somehow got overlooked by the chickens this summer…they ate all the green tops of the baby carrots so we only harvest 3 or 4 carrots big enough to eat)
3 green peppers & 1 reddish green pepper
1 butternut squash that was still dangling from the arbor trellis…the Handsome Husband somehow missed this one when he harvested the other 30
Handful of “baby tomatoes”
Lots of red & white potatoes (most were really small but totally free because they were left over potatoes that got too shrivelly to eat and my Papaw had given them to us from their harvest last year)
And here’s the main garden (featuring our dog, Pal) all “cleaned up”. It’s soooo pretty to look at right now. All neat & tidy with few weeds and no dead vines/plants. But man do I miss the food that weeds & vines bring…
In mid-September, I planted lettuce, cilantro & spinach in the herb garden closest to the house. The spinach (and some of the leaf lettuce) never came up, but the cilantro & butter head lettuce is grow, grow, growing…
from left to right
Chives, Butter head lettuce, lavender, cilantro (that self seeded from this summer’s planting)
left to right :: The edge of my oregano bowl to keep the “beast” contained so it doesn’t take over, new cilantro plants, a few sprigs of rosemary
Then, last weekend, I planted Round 2 of our winter crops. This is our first year planting winter crops. We’ve been buying a ton of spinach from Sam's Club lately and our use of garlic is quite ridiculous, so we’re attempting to cut our grocery costs by growing our own. I already had the spinach & lettuce seeds; the garlic bulbs & kale seed cost around $16.50. We spend over $10/week on lettuce, spinach & garlic, so (if our crops do well), our plan to lower grocery costs over the winter should be on target!!! *fingers crossed*
Kale (Ms. Bossy Britches loves to help in the garden. Her favorite job is writing “sticks” to help us know where we plant the tiny seeds.)
Anything you might be tempted to call spinach or kale in the above picture is a actually a blasted WEED! (Note the spinach & kale haven't come up yet, but the weeds have not only sprouted but are THRIVING!!) The garlic cloves are planted beneath the straw & chicken poo compost. We’ll also mulch some leaves on the garlic once we gather them from Ms. Bee’s house.
And some pictures of the ladies…I would tell you their names but we gave up naming them. All 7 chickens are Golden Buff Orpingtons. All 7 hens are orange (with no special markings really.) My girls, Little Miss Picklepants & Miss Bossy Britches, had superb names for them when they were little chicks, with the hopes that once their adult feathers came in, we’d be able to tell them apart…. soooo not the case. So, we just refer to them as “The Ladies”.
are were free range, cage free chickens. The ladies discovered our neighbor’s planter in the front of their house (read…they were scratching MULCH out of bounds) , so we’re having to keep them within their fence for now. Of course, “within their fence” is an area larger than most people’s back yard…so I don’t feel too sorry for them. Especially after we opened up the garden beds to the ladies so they can peck up bugs, worms (hopefully eat all the grubs!) and scratch in our compost, straw, and leaves.
This is a garden bed the ladies have worked their magic on…just last weekend there was a big pile of straw/chicken poo that I cleaned out of their coop in the middle of this garden bed. In most of the beds, you can barely see the straw at all. I think I may change their name from “the ladies” to “My little rototillers”.
Gardening definitely teaches faith, hope, and love. Faith that God will provide the right amount of sunshine, rain, and warmth. Hope that all your hard work prepping the garden beds, planting the seed will pay off in beautiful green sprouts poking up through the soil. And Love for the land, the creation, the sunshine, the rain, and the Creator who orchestrates the delicate balance of it all.
I’ll keep you updated about our winter garden progress and our (hopefully) decreasing grocery costs…
Happy Day :: Christy