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October 3, 2011 / 74

Almost Final Harvest Time…

The fall garden has narrowly avoided frost two nights now… it’s out there dodging and weaving! So the little pea plants (the tallest is about 6″) with their cute little blossoms are still struggling to make “seed” (peas). And the 5 or 6 turnips are still out there with a nice spread of greens on them, and the surviving 5 or 6 beets are being savaged by the grasshoppers but are still in the game, and the fall beans are all in bloom.

The newly planted strawberries are doing quite well, putting down roots and a couple of them even made blossoms for me – that I pinched off. ALL of their energy now should be going to rooting.

I “harvested” the corn – such as it was. The “sweet corn” that we left on the stalk mostly turned moldy, as did a lot of the “indian” type corn, and for the second year in a row the Hopi Blue corn did abysmally. I don’t think we’ll waste any space on it in the future. Hopi Blue is supposed to be a corn for hot and dry… it was hot and dry this year and it STILL didn’t do anything.

But the star of the season was the Bloody Butcher heritage corn!!! With stalks as high as 11 feet, and the base of some stalks looking like stout bamboo, the ears were really fine looking. Some of them didn’t fill well because of the dry and heat – but MOST plants had at least one or two ears on them. Some mold but also some perfect ears.

We also saw that our theories on cross pollination are correct. Although we probably can’t prevent it, we can tell when it happens and sift the corn for the alien invaders. What makes this possible is the fact that EACH KERNEL of corn has it’s own silk thread, and each kernel of corn is individually pollinated. So if the foreign species of pollen lands on one silk that kernel will be different than the rest in some situations.

For example – if you have a white corn, or a red corn, and you get invaded by your neighbor’s yellow BT Field corn, any kernels that were pollinated by the BT will show up as yellow… if the yellow is dominant. If the yellow is NOT dominant, then you couldn’t tell unless the seed corn was already contaminated. Going to have to check with someone about dominant colors in corn….

Oh… and the “dried beans” – some of them are dried, and some of them decided to turn the dry beans to mold and to make NEW beans – which are still green and which will dry later. I think that the main problem was too many weeds, and rows too close together which inhibited air flow through the plants and rows. There are lessons being learned here.

And some of the squash and zucchini are yielding stuff despite the lateness of the planting. But in the future we will either not waste time planting “Cinderella” pumpkins, or will harvest them AS SOON AS THEY TURN ORANGE!!! If you don’t, they melt down like the Wicked Witch of the
West! (Literally!!!)

We also still have a bunch of potatoes and sweet potatoes to dig up.

So – next week or the week after is firewood cutting season!!!

And from now until about the end of the year is deer season. (Gun season in Nov – Bow season the rest of the time.)

Tomorrow is the take the chainsaw chains in for sharpening and pick up a few news chains, and get some chain oil day. Bought some new safety glasses today. Gotta take the 16″ saw and clear a path through the drive-through to the little field on the other side of a gully where a dead tree fell… If the wood’s hard and dry, it’s firewood. If it’s mushy and wet – then it’s ditch fill.

 

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