Friday, November 09, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

We’re entering into the “slower” time of year, food-production-wise. While we are in a zone that can grow something year-round, the list shortens dramatically in this November – April time.

The transition period is frequently a bit startling to the eye, though; so many things hit the end of their season at once, and when combined with the fact that the days become shorter (thus reducing the already slim chance that I’m going to get out there after work to do anything to zero), well.

It goes from looking all green and lush to something more like this.


Yeah. The pumpkins are dead. And without producing even one viable pumpkins, too. A combination of watering issues (yeah, um, bad valves + bad communication about what was on and what was off + heat wave = lots of dead plants), powdery mildew I wasn’t aggressive enough about treating, some weirdly boomerang-y weather and a rather intense infestation of whiteflies rather doomed them.

Now, these on the other hand…

…it’s not actually at all bad that they look like that. I was harvesting a ridiculous number of butternut squash from this patch a month or so back, and noticed that the @^*&@ing squash beetles had moved in. Those little suckers are a real pain – they breed like crazy and don’t have a lot of “good” organic control methods. Your best bet is hand-picking and squashing (or dropping into a bucket of soapy water). Which doesn’t go particularly well with the kind of insane work schedules I’ve been keeping for the last way-too-long.

Since I’d already harvested waaaaaaay more than ‘enough’ butternut squash, I started to just yank out the vines to deny them their habitat…and then I glanced over at the (not so desperately sad looking back then) pumpkins right behind them and thought, …um…wait…if I pull this out, they’re totally just going to migrate over THERE, aren’t they…

So I left the vines and a couple of the sorrier-looking squash in place, and the stupid beetles have been cheerfully making themselves at home there. It didn’t actually save my pumpkins in the end, but at least squash beetles aren’t on the list of Stuff That Killed Them.

I’m taking that as a ‘win.’ Don’t argue with me. I may become emotional.

Another thing that looks bad but isn’t? These guys.

Which have been turning into rather nice quantities of these.

Steuben Yellow-Eye beans make some of the best sweet baked beans, like Boston or Swedish. Plus they’re pretty. Never hurts when food looks pretty, IMHO.

The peanuts will be coming out soon, It’s getting colder and colder, so pretty soon I’m sure the foliage will start yellowing – the “OK, I give up” signal for a lot of underground growers.

Another Coming Soon: Yams. There’s a lot of yellow on those vines, although they are still putting out a few flowers here and there.

Oh noooooo, don’t talk about me, I’m SHY!!!!!

And as always, as everything else is slowing down and complaining about the cold, the peas are all…what? what are you talking about, ‘it’s cold’?

This is FLOWER-WEARING weather, y’all!

They’re like that annoying cousin from Alaska, who walks around in shorts in November while we California hothouse lilies are grabbing sweaters and hats and gasping in shock and disbelief at thin veneers of almost-FROST on the rooftops.

There are a lot of weeds stubbornly refusing to give in to the growing cold. The beds are starting to empty out, waiting to have a liberal spread of compost turned into them, for their bit of rest before time moves inexorably on into the next growing-time.

…and onward we shall go…

1 comment:

Lisa T said...

Have you ever considered getting some chickens? They would love to help you with your beetle problem.