Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dark Days Challenge

I've decided to join Laura over at (not so) Urban Hennery and participate in the Dark Days Challenge.  The challenge is to cook at least one meal a week using as many sustainable, organic, local, ethical (SOLE) foods as possible. Along with the foods I'm growing, the local food network will be limited to a 150 mile radius of Seattle. My exceptions to SOLE will be sugar, spices, oils & vinegars, some cheeses and coffee.

I think this a great challenge for everyone and I'm looking forward to learning more about my local resources and sharing my experiences with you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day!

Last night the first big snow arrived along with chilly temperatures in the teens. I always enjoy the first snow of the season, I find it joyful. The ladies on the other hand were not at all impressed and needed a little coaxing to get out of the coop this morning.  I did weatherize the coop by sealing up the windows and placing a heat lamp close to the nesting boxes.

Here are the last of the raspberries.

While the temperature outside is about 22 degrees fahrenheit, it's almost 50 degrees in the hoophouse. Good for the winter greens.

And the signs of next season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Settling in For the Winter

Remember the hoophouse I built over one of my garden boxes last spring? Well, I've set it back up and hopefully will be able to grow some awesome veggies through the winter.  Currently I have kale, mixed lettuce greens, arugula, and chard growing. I planted spinach, but it surprisingly didn't do well. Spinach has always seemed a sure fire success. Hmmmm??

I'm going to look at my local nurseries to see if I can locate some other veggie seedlings to plant for the winter.  To supplement my family's needs for winter veggies, I'm going to join a CSA. Does anybody in Seattle have any feedback on the local CSA's?

The 2010 summer season was tough on harvestable edibles, but the learning curve was great.  I've learned that the local deer really rely on my garden as a food source and I will be putting up some fencing and fishing line this winter.  I also figured out that I need to sow more seeds earlier in the season to encourage a better harvest of everything. Additionally,  I'll be  and looking into some organic methods to curtail the fungus I think is lurking on the fruit trees and in one of the veg beds. My neighbor loaned me her soaker hose for the potato patch and that made a real difference on the time I had to spend watering that 30' bed and also helped to conserved a lot of water. I see more irrigation being engineered into my gardens.  Many new things to implement for before next spring arrives!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Fall Garden Walk

The Seattle area has been smiled upon by the sun and warm weather. Today, my thermometer read 71 degrees, isn't it November?  I took a walk around the garden and was pleased to see that the fall veggies are doing well, a couple of the dahlias are still full of color, the Tulameen raspberries are still producing fruit and the moon!

My arugula, lettuce and kale are looking wonderful and healthy. I'll look forward to eating them in the near future.  It's a wonderful feeling not having to buy these veggies from the store!

To my delight, the some of the dahlias have managed to survive being pummeled by the rain and the first light frost.

The raspberries are also managing to continue to ripen.  The color is so inviting that I keep thinking that the flavor will be that of the summer berries, but there hasn't been that much sun to develop that juicy sweet flavor. They are more muted in taste so the Ladies are enjoying them this fall.

Speaking of Ladies, the new hens are just starting to lay and I'll be looking forward to eating fresh eggs all winter!

I also saw the disappointments of the season. It was usually cold this summer and the veggies that needed hot temperatures really struggled. I mean seriously struggled.

Tomato blight

My one and only eggplant.

A couple of peppers that aren't quit mature yet and also have blight.

My one kiwi and acorn squash survivors.

Then there are the delicata and butternut squashes that didn't get much bigger than a softball.

This is the first year that I've had such a difficult time with the veggie gardens and the fruit trees.  Not only did the weather not cooperate, but then there was all the wildlife that needed to feast on everything that was ripening. Not to worry, I'm already anticipating placing my first order for the seeds for next years garden!