Friday, July 26, 2013

Fall Crops
Rainbow Carrots

Today, I just started planting my fall crops.
I know... at 10am, you're already dripping with sweat! For many of us, fall is the last thing on our mind. (That is, until you start smelling the wildfire smoke in the air, which always makes me think of the end of summer or fall. Or, if you are just waiting for your prized garden gem-of-a-pumpkin, you are happily anticipating fall like I am!)

 But now is the time to start planning for your fall carrots, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, peas, and kale, among other things. I found some great articles on this I wanted to share with you. I usually post gardening articles on pinterest. However, many of these can't be posted on Pinterest, because they don't have a picture. They are really great resources if you are thinking about second plantings for late fall veggies!

Planning For Your Fall Crops - Start Now! - Planning tips and great info for each fall crop vegetable

Fall & Winter Vegetable Gardens - Gives info on fall crop vegetables for cooler, wetter climates (Western Oregon & W. Washington)

Planting Vegetables in Midsummer for Fall Harvest - Provides a handy table of fall crop vegetables, their days to maturity, and cold hardiness

And my personal favorite, from The Old Farmer's Almanac,
This has a fantastic table that shows when you need to plant by, in order to have a harvest by specific frost dates. Here in Central Oregon, where our growing season is short, this is VERY important.

I hope these pages will be helpful to you in planning your second planting!
 I'm very excited about my current harvest, which motivates me to plant for late fall.
I love the idea that I can start planting in the next couple months, and be able to use some of these veggies for cozy and warming fall dishes once the wind begins to blow! Carrots and winter kale planted later may even hold until thanksgiving, depending on the kind of fall we have. Apparently, kale's flavor gets better after the frost!

Today I cleaned up my potted garden, and planted some shade loving plants behind my pot of sunflowers. (I don't recommend potting sunflowers. It's just the room I had left. You know, you make do with what you have!) Over the weekend, I will be cleaning up the beds and doing those second plantings.

Do you remember me talking about my radishes going to seed? (I went to the beach, and they went started to flower and go seed.) Well, the ones that have good seed pods coming out will be left, and I hope to plant those seeds in August, (fingers crossed.) Radishes grow so fast, so you can plant them late. Several of the current plants are just going to have to come out to make room for another round of radishes, and more carrots. By the way, when radishes flower, they get hard, and don't taste very good.
As for carrots, they grow great into the later fall. They just hang out in the ground a while until you're ready for them, even after a first frost. (Check the articles for fall carrot harvest specifics.)

A little planning ahead, and we'll be harvesting fresh produce right before Halloween!
Let's just hope for a beautiful, gentle fall. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
P.S. Real quick, I just had to show you...
That red carrot at the top, when I cut into it, it looked like this...

How great is that!? Red on the outside, and yellow-orange on the inside! So cool!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Trip to California & Back Home to My Little Garden

In case you're wondering where I've been... I've not been at home!
Today and yesterday were the first days in weeks that I have been home.

Last week was especially busy and wonderful! The first part, I helped out with crafts for our churches VBS-like kids camp. Then the day after that was over, I went to the Sierra Nevada foothills of Grass Valley, California with my dad. 

 (I sometimes call my dad 'the crazy fruit man!' Haha! We love us some fruit!)

We picked up an RV he was given, then did some looking around the area. The highlight of my trip was doing some father-daughter gold panning. And, yes, I found gold! I don't mean little dust specks, but I found a couple of good size flakes.

I feel like this isn't the best picture of me, but it's proof I did it! Haha!
We also got to see some ghost towns and historic Nevada City as well.

 An old, abandoned miner's home!

The general store in the ghost town of North Bloomfield, at Malakoff Diggins State Park

It was a really fun trip, but it's good to be home!
My husband took care of my little garden while I was gone.
He did a great job with watering, but my squash plants are having some troubles.

They use to look so much better than this, but they were starting to be like this when I left, so it's not his fault. I need to figure out what is causing it!
<Looking around on the web... brb...>

Okay, so it looks like I might have a type of squash disease. (Sigh)
How sad!  :(  If you have squash issues too, here are some great sites I found:

Michelle's Garden - they have a great picture at the bottom to help identity which issue your squash is having.

Harvest to Table - this has an article about squash growing from beginning to end, helpful tips and possible problems that could come up. This article helped me realize I need to mulch! I feel like such a newbie at times!

In other garden news, my radishes came up too fast while I was away at the beach at the beginning of the month. I'm not eating them near fast enough!

Now, I'm purposefully letting them go to seed to I can plant the seeds. It's an experiment, but should be interesting. In the meantime, radishes have the prettiest little white and pink flowers! I have been using some on my kitchen table for a truly cute, country look.

I also have... a zucchini!!! YAY!!!!!

 This gives me so much gardening hope, that it's still going strong!
Earlier, I had little pumpkins coming up, but I think the disease got them, as they shrivelled up. I'm glad these two plants aren't close. The zucchini should be fine, (I'm hoping with fingers crossed)

And hopefully, the rest of the garden will keep growing, so I can start really eating from it!

Variety carrots, new lettuce, and radishes in the background.

Curly Pumpkin Vines!

I hope everything you're growing is staying healthy, and giving you a delicious feast!
May you have happy summer adventures & safe returns to your nest!
~ C

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reasons I LOVE Being a Homemaker
(a growing list)

 1. My house is clean... most of the time...

2. If I don't want to do it or clean it, I don't have to.

3. I don't punch a clock! Which means I can also take a break.

4. Tea time. At home. In a tea cup, with the occasional goodie. Enough said.

5. I have time to hang my laundry on a clothesline. 
This is for two reasons - 1) it's actually faster than my old 70's dryer, & 2) I step outside, and suddenly I'm living little house on the prairie!

6. I'm able to focus on growing my own food. And food always tastes better when you grow it yourself.

7.  Did I mention I make my own schedule? :D This is really freeing to my spirit.

8. If I get everything done that I wanted to, I can have afternoon for crafting, time to myself, or go on a coffee date. (Even if I don't do everything, it can still happen!)

9. I'm the boss.

10.  While I do my thing, I play my music... LOUD! And no one is in their home to care.

11. Living on one income makes you focus on your priorities, financial and otherwise, and forces you to acknowledge what is truly important to you. 
We live simply, and we like it that way.

12. And my favorite... if I want to go to 'work' in a sarong, or even just my underwear, that's okay!

'Sweet, Simple Things'