Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Planting the Fall Garden

I usually start thinking of the fall garden after I finish harvesting the cucumbers and zucchini each year since I've been in the Northeast Georgia foothills. This year the weather has been crazy. Almost no spring, soaring temperatures, and then a coolish snap in July (daytime highs in the 70s). We've had a very wet summer, not that I'm complaining. It was a welcomed change from the previous two summers.

So my cabbages, napa cabbages, daikon radishes, carrots, leeks, and lettuces all went into the ground this week.

But it led to a very buggy growing season. We had an explosion of squash beetles and mosquitoes galore. The beetles not finding much to eat on my zucchini plants devoured my poor cucumber and watermelon plants with gusto, and then even chewed the leaves of my tomato plants. These little buggers went after my bunny greens patches too. Nothing was safe from them. Even planting my usual deterrent of icicle radishes and dusting with DE (Diatomaceous Earth) worked to control them.

I'm finding pests choose different years to attack my garden. Thank goodness, they don't all have explosions at once. Last year was stink bugs. The year before it was cut worms. I'm not the only on complaining about them either. Paying visits to my local feed and seed store and Tractor Supply Co., everyone there were complaining about the squash beetle explosion this year.

Unfortunately, even my chickens find them distasteful too. I'd hand picked these morsels in the beginning, partially squish them, and toss them in my bucket I carry with me into the garden for this very purpose. After I finish, I'd call the chickens and dump these morsels out for them to gorge themselves on them. Normally, the rooster would call the hens because there were tasty tidbits available. With these beetles, he uttered no sound. The hens and he would peck at them and spit them out. I'm not joking. They would then look up at me with a disgusted face and walk away. As if they were saying, "What is this crap you're feeding us?!"

After a few attempts to feed these beetles to them, I even noticed that their usual behavior of circling the garden while I was working within the fenced off area, changed. They no longer cared that I was in the garden. They were off to greener pastures like going down to the creek, 1/2 an acre away and down the slope, where there are endless smorgasbord of tasty nibbles to be had.

Our peaches have colored up and will be harvested this week. Some actually survived the squirrels!  They are small, but this is only the third year for them. I'm looking forward to tasting them not that I'm expecting much as I previously explained. It should be interesting.

Speaking of peaches, I went to my neighbor's and picked up a a peck for fresh eating and to replace the jars we used last year. I also went grocery shopping. I really liked the Loring peaches this year of all the varieties he grows in his orchard. He's only a mile down our road.   Another farm about a 1 and a 1/2 down the road has blueberries. We do a barter for fresh eggs. Ain't I lucky?

Well, I brought my groceries home and told Mel to fetch 'em. Well, a month's worth of sodas, milk, and assorted other groceries came in, but my peaches and assorted produce that I didn't grow this year were left in the car. It wasn't an imperative that they come in immediately. Mel got her drink and sat down a spell to rest before getting the rest inside. Mel has a nasty habit of leaving the sliding door or the hatch open while she rest. No big deal. Normally, she'll be out again in about fifteen minutes. I started processing the day's harvest of cucumbers, peppers, and store bought Vidala onions for bread and butter pickles and relish. This should be the last batch I'll have to put up for the year.

It's been a while since I've said this but THOSE DARN BLASTED CHICKENS got into the back of my van and feasted on my peaches! About eight of the thirty were hen pecked. Mel tossed two of them out into the side parking area to get the chickens out of my van. It's far easier than trying to chase them the inside of my van to get them out. These peaches were three-quarters the way eaten anyhow. After looking at the remaining peaches, I  decided to give the half eaten and severely pecked peaches to the rabbits. Grrr!

Pictured is the worst of what's left. I may be able to salvage the rest for canning and fresh eating. Double Grr! More work for me because of our birds. At least, they didn't poop in my van and they did leave me some. At least, they are staying  out of our garden this year too, thank God!

Well, that's it for this week
Y'all have a blessed day.


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