September Homestead Update

Life is crazy, y’all. But when is it not?

It’s almost fall here, which means somewhat of a reduction in homestead work, but also a lot of changing work. What have we been up to, and what are we planning for the future?

Harvesting

Most of our summer crops are either done or nearly done for the season. Cucumbers have been finished for at least a month, corn gave its last ears a few weeks ago and now functions as a living/dying trellis for our squash, and tomatoes are just about finished, with a few green ones hanging on.

Okra is still going strong, and will continue until that first frost, as will hot peppers and (hooray, finally!) bell peppers. We’ve got at least one big, beautiful candy roaster squash I’m keeping an eye on for our future Thanksgiving feast, and a couple of other small ones that I hope will also mature nicely. I just harvested a huge butternut squash a few days ago, and expect at least a few more from our plants we didn’t lose to powdery mildew.

You’ve got this, candy roaster!

Planting

You say the summer’s over, and now it’s smooth sailing for cold weather? Wrong! We’ve got a slew of cool- and cold-weather crops germinating outdoors and starting indoors for our fall and winter delights, including kale, collards, mustard greens, and radishes (both black and French breakfast). I may also try with carrots and parsnips again, but I’m also thinking I’ll wait until these crops break up and loosen the soil a bit more for spring planting.

Here’s my fun map of the cold-weather bed. I’ll also have you know, there are already sprouts, so there!

Chores

Once the summer season is truly over, we’ve got several cold-weather chores to attend to, including:

  • Mucking out the chicken coop
  • Cleaning and storing gardening tools
  • Cleaning and reorganizing canning supplies and canned goods
  • Trimming back and relocating blackberry canes
  • Mowing back summer crops
  • Cover cropping and sheet mulching for the winter
  • Equipment repairs
  • Drinking our mead and enjoying our pickles and jams. Aww yiss.

Did I mention I won some ribbons from the Mountain State Fair for coffee cake and blackberry jelly? Because I did. And we’ll enjoy that jelly and various cakes all winter long, too.

And pickled okra dirty martinis, because why not?

Life in General

We’ve been busy otherwise here on the homestead, aside from homestead stuff. Baby Homesteader is less of a baby and more of a running, eating, toddler machine, which means we spend a lot more time chasing her down. It also means we spend more time showing her the garden and how it works, chicken husbandry, and what plants are good to eat. All in all, having a Toddler Homesteader is pretty danged neat.

Animal husbandry at its finest.

I’m also rehearsing for a play again, which is both fun and exhausting, what with juggling rehearsals with home work, markets, childcare, and finding a spare moment to spend with Husband. All I can say is, Husband is a saint and deserves some very chocolatey and cheesy treats (not in the same dish) after this run is over. (Also, come see my play! It’s Our Town at Asheville Community Theatre, from September 30-October 16. Shameless plug over.)

But another shameless plug: although the weather is cooling off, farmer’s markets are still a go, many of them through November and even throughout the winter! So if you’re looking to support good local farms and get fresh produce throughout the winter (and stop looking at those mealy winter tomatoes from god-knows-where and eat some greens, dangit), come see us. And while you’re at it, grab a pastry or two from me, and say hello. I love seeing y’all!

I think that’s about it for an update. Until next time, happy homesteading, and see you at market and the theater!

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