I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fall garden prep.....and wildlife

After a cold, rainy weekend, by Monday morning, the coolness had crept inside, the temperature nudging down into the 50's F. so we lit the fire, and kept it going all day, the first real fire of the season.
The weather teeter-totter has switched again, and yesterday was a sublime, sunny, breezy, fall day, the temperature up to 19C (66F) by afternoon.

 We did a walk around the trails over the weekend, in the dreary weather.

Leaves are really coming down and the trails are covered. On the cameras, a big, lazy bear came ambling by.

The video showed how slow and ponderous his gait was, like he was already half asleep. A Chickadee photo-bombed one camera!

We still have not had an hard frost, but Tuesday morning, we awoke to crispy white stuff on the ground and garden beds.

As the sun came up in a blue sky, it melted off the frost, and the marigolds and nasturtiums soldier on, the little crust of frost not seeming to bother them one iota. I have spread manure and turned over a few beds, but am still waiting for frost to really finish off those plants. Even after a few inclement days, the pollinators are out and buzzing in the blooms.

I dug out the beautiful egg plant....its roots stretched right across the four foot wide bed, and with a stem like this, no wonder it could hold all that fruit!

The last few carrots were pulled,

and the ginger plant dug out. It has a few small, tender rhizomes.

The last glad spike did bloom,

and yesterday I dug up all the gladiola corms, cutting that one bloom to come inside and be enjoyed. The plants are all stuffed upside down in pails to dry for a week or so, then I will clean and store the corms.

Yesterday, I planted 84 fat garlic cloves, and am now waiting for a calm day to spread the leaf mulch and hardware cloth, to hold it down.

Wild strawberries are blooming. I guess they are a little confused by this warm fall!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Golden October....

We are heading toward the middle of October, and still have had no  frost other than the light dusting mentioned in my last post. This is certainly an unusual fall with no frost yet. Daytime temperatures have been in the 20 to 24C range (68 to 75F) so far this week, and night time temperatures are what the average day time temperatures should be.

My marigolds and nasturtiums are still beautiful,

and I don't want to pull out the pea/bean fence and disturb them until the plants are frozen.

 Pollinators are still active, particularly in the borage.

Tree leaves are falling, the bright red soft maples are done, their red leaves spread around the base of their trunks on the ground. We are in the yellow and orange phase now.

Some of the garden beds are empty and ready for winter, while others hold a few plants.

The herb bed has blooming basil and savory, and a few calendula buds are still opening.

A friend gave me some small, leggy tomato plants late in the season. They were still in their starting pots, and suffering. I planted them out anyway, here and there where I could find a bit of space, and they have grown and fruited, but too late to ripen this summer. I plan on leaving the tomatoes on the plant until cold weather threatens, then bring them in and see if they will ripen indoors. It is a big, long paste tomato, that is supposedly delicious. I'd like to get seeds from it for next year.

There is one very late spike of buds rising from one gladiola plant. Will it or will it not get to bloom? I am waiting until the last possible moment to lift the glad corms. 



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Hedgehogs, puffs, shaggys, combs and garden harvesting......

After that huge rain event, the bush and fields are erupting with mushrooms. The giant triple puffball growing beneath the crab-apple tree is expanding daily.

September 26
We sauteed up the fourth one that was off by itself, decided it was pretty bland, so we left the others to do their thing.

They are still expanding, volleyball sized now. Two of them seem to be totally squashing the third one. Their surfaces look, and feel like soft leather.
October 5

Shaggy manes keep coming up along the edges of the driveway, and under the tractor.

We harvested some of them, but they are so delicate and short lived, and love coming up through gravel, so it's hard to get all the grit off of them. 

Honey mushrooms are everywhere in the bush, as are smaller, more flavourful puff balls. On Sunday, I scored a Hedgehog mushroom.

Hedgehog and puffballs

It is one that I've been on the lookout for, and is the first one I've ever found. It was super delicious...now one of my favourite foraged mushrooms. I always slice the puff balls in half, to be absolutely sure they are puffballs, as poisonous white amanitas can be deceptive in their button stage.  

During a little walk around the trails yesterday, we found a couple of other edibles.

Bear's head tooth

Comb tooth

We have tried the comb tooth, and its flavour is very mild. 

After having a guest for the better part of last week, then a foggy, rainy weekend, I am finally getting back to dismantling the garden. The potatoes have been dug, some of them so big, one might feed three people!

We had two nights with a frost advisory late last week, and Friday morning we awoke to a white crust of frost here and there, over the grass. It wasn't a heavy frost though, and we had covered the frost sensitive plants. Yesterday I turned under the last bed of buckwheat and pulled the last tomato plants. We procured our load of manure over the weekend, so can now go ahead and get it spread on the beds and turned under. The pepper plants were still putting out blooms, but there is no way they would ever make fruit this late in the season, so I pulled them and harvested the remaining peppers.

They will be sliced and dehydrated for winter pizzas. I've been pulling and sharing my second planting of carrots. Here are a few I pulled just for a picture. They are long, and straight, with no sign of carrot fly maggots. 

Down beside the rock pile in the back yard, my tire planters are giving us a lovely last burst of colour, marigolds, asters and the last crocosmia blooms.