Friday, September 30, 2022

Fall Roses: The Farm Report 09-30-2022

 The Farm Report

Fall Roses

Once again, the month has nearly escaped from the calendar without me!

Let me start this Fall Report by saying to any and all who might be interested: The answer to the question, "Can you grow hybrid tea roses in 10 gallon bags?" Yes! You most certainly can. They have just loved it this summer. I did do some fancy dancing regarding the water issue, but no biggie. I have a barrel hooked up to the garden hose and I keep it filled the old fashioned way - when I think about it, I turn on the faucet. When I hear water overflowing, I remember to go turn the faucet back off. A simple little battery operated timer turns on the drip nozzles as I instruct it to do. Two AAA batteries last all summer long. It is a good thing - and the roses like it, too. I'll be adding to the budget this winter for some serious Super Duper Hybrid Tea rose roots next spring.

Out in the field garden, my sweet potatoes are proving that they not only can do well in a hot dry summer, they love it! I check the soil temps to know how long I can let them keep growing. They will not tolerate ANY frost. When the soil temps get down to the 50's F, then it is time to dig them. If the soil goes below 50F, the potatoes begin to change, and they will not keep. Right now, my soil temp is 73F, and the overnight averages are in the mid 60's. In about 3 weeks though, guess what? Yep. Our average soil temps will be about 52F. So....

Last year, I cut slips from the vines and kept them in the house over the winter as house plants. Last spring, I chopped them up and rooted them. I did actually spend some cash money on new varieties - and I DO have them labeled at the base of the plants - so I'll have about 7 different ones to try keeping over. We'll see which ones made potatoes; and which ones I like.

My fall green beans are beginning to be ready to can. I've been enjoying fresh green beans with bacon and potatoes from my garden. Delicious meals! Annie likes to supervise, even if she isn't big on beans. The blue-grey stuff across from Annie is my Gypsy broccoli

Here it is from the other side. I've been putting about half a dozen one-serving bags in the freezer every couple of weeks. It just gets better as the cold weather comes in. This will be about the last thing I plow up. Like brussels sprouts, broccoli improves with frost and cold weather.

"Meh.... Maybe there's a mouse or something in here, Tim. I don't know why you bother." 

I just pull up the plant roots and all, then go sit on a nice shaded bench to pick off the beans. I plant Blue Lake bush beans. They are delicious, and they are bred for canneries in Wisconsin. Canneries don't send out a crew of people to bend over in the fields picking green beans. They send a giant harvester machine out and it is 'all or nothing at all' when it is time to pick. These plants put on one big heavy 'picking' and that's what I want. You can just pick as you want (which is what I do for supper), but pulling plant and all for a one-time harvest is SOOOOOOOOOO much easier on my back.

I listen to Night Time on Still Waters podcasts while I do this. It is a log produced by a fellow who lives on a narrow boat on the canals in England. He's very talented. Here is a link if you want to follow along. His voice is hypnotizing.

These next pics are to file under the heading: New Gardeners/Don't Get Discouraged. This is what my tarp garden looked like in March. All cleaned up and hopeful for the new season.

Here we go in late June. Wow! Everything is coming right along as planned. See the little gizmos hanging from the barrels? Those are the drip timers I mentioned when I was talking about the roses. They don't cost much and they last for seasons and seasons if you bring them in and avoid hard water (ahem....That would be ICE.)

But then July and 100F actual temps hit - and it stopped raining. I got about 80 quarts of tomato juice put up, and then I lost interest and went inside to the AC. I'm showing you my weedy mess to emphasize the point that the gardens at Oakdale Farm are the real deal. I'm not running any magazine photo shop out here. It is what it is. Mother Nature can be a mean mother! If you turn your back on her, she will retaliate in spades. But she's also very forgiving. Soon - very soon - I will clean all this off. Revert whatever is organic back to the organic origins from whence it came (I have a machine for that!), and prepare for the next season - all winter long. I get a lot of year around joy from my gardens and orchards. I can't let a skunk stink up the whole works for me. One fumble doesn't change the whole game. Never give up!

Speaking of Mother Nature never giving up.... I wheeled the Ranger around to park it behind the shop one afternoon, and Annie lunged out to grab this peach. A peach! A volunteer seedling erupted from deep down under the bushes, and before I even knew there was a fruit tree there, it had peaches. Or should I say peach? It only had just this one. It was good though, so I'll see what I can do to move it this winter.

Up in the greenhouse, here is what we have taking over the hydroponic strawberry patch. Celery! Strawberries are like me - they do not do well in heat. This year, I drew from my experience archive, and just pitched the spent strawberry plants into the compost heap. Enough of this baloney about trying to winter them over. I've never had luck doing that. So, once I got past the Iowa Necessary Rule (we're a thrifty lot - sometimes called cheap) I decided to plant something else in the tubes. I like celery because it is a little difficult to grow - a challenge - and it smells up the whole greenhouse like a fresh salad. I love it.

The celery loves the hydroponic system, too! This big stalk base is planted in a little 2-inch net pot. I'm thinking that after it gets cold enough to close up the greenhouse at night, I'll wrap the stalks with paper or something to blanch them white like the celery you buy in the store. In the garden, I always mound up earth or mulch to make them blanch. Blanched stalks look better, and their taste is milder and not so bitter.

But strong celery flavoring can be a good thing. I had so many tomatoes this year that I decided I'd try making some V8 juice. I didn't have all the right stuff, so mine came out being V5 juice. It is delicious all the same. Those 5 cayenne peppers in the cooker are a secret weapon for a delicious V5 cocktail on winter nights.

Yikes! My tomato jars are still in the canning kitchen in the back of the shop. I came around the corner recently, and one of the glass quart jars was laying on the concrete floor. Whaaaaaaat? I'm guessing Miss Kitty might have been playing keep away from Annie Oakley one night. Whatever happened, the jar got knocked off the table. It landed on the rim of the lid. If you look closely, you can see the bent lid.

Maybe this might help. The miracle is that the jar did not break, nor did the seal break! How can that happen? This one will be the first I use to make Hungarian Goulash pretty soon. No sense tempting fate, and those tomatoes are too good to waste.

The apples in the orchard are beginning to come in. I like pies, but I'm no baker. Walmart sells pie crusts in a box. My wife, the champion award winning baker, would be spinning in her grave about this, but I just plunk down money and buy the pie crusts in a box. It works for me. I micro-nuked some peeled apples and tried to get artistic. I'm not entering this in any contests any time soon, but it was delicious. I just happened to have some 8-year old cheddar cheese to go with it. MMMMMMMM.

For those who asked, this is the plaque that hangs by the Ball Blue Book in the canning kitchen. I try to live by this. It ain't easy though.....

"Tim, Did you put that in about me? Or was it about you?"

So, from Annie Oakley, O.J. and me, Cheers! from Oakdale Farm. 
All is well, and the seasons are changing.