11 Oct 2018

ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
When we first moved here, the temperature in summer never went above 88° F. When it went above 82°, there were air quality alerts. The air quality is still poor here. Now most of the steel mills are shut down or have a cleaner process. There used to be ash fallout on any outside table or chair every night. Not any more. Last year they shut down the coke plant too. Unfortunately, new chemical plants (exane) are being built as well as reopening the coke plant. There also used to be 7 year severe autumn droughts. I haven't seen one since the late 1990s. So I'm reminiscing because it's too hot to sleep. It's October. It was 97° when I left to run errands mid-afternoon. By 3:00 pm, the clouds moved in and the temperature dropped. Rain moved in and the house is hot and humid. Can't leave the windows open with the threat of rain. And then the weather will shift to very cold. I am trying to hold off as long as I can before turning on the furnace. It's funny that I didn't feel overheated today but I wasn't in direct sun either.

Pumpkin vine takes over

So much to do in the garden with the end of the growing season. The pumpkins took over the entire yard. I went out and trimmed them back. Good thing too, there was another pumpkin hiding that we missed. I discovered horn worms in the tomatoes. It was very hot and dry. And then it was very moist and humid. The plants were stressed. The pumpkins grew over the top of the tomatoes, cutting off sun for ripening. All the tomato leaves were brown. (Cue music: All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey)

Tomatoes

Dodging the ground hornets, I trimmed and mulched as much as I could. In return, the mosquitoes ate me alive. It feels good to look at the food sitting on the shelves. I am working on mulching the section we call the Kuiper belt. It borders the alley. I moved three trellises back there. At some point I'll have enough to block the deer. Coffee grounds and plant trimmings are being added this month. I moved some strawberry plants. We'll see if they survive. The deer ate almost all the strawberry plants last year. Only one out of 25 survived.

Last call

I reckon we have 20 weeks of squash and pumpkins to eat. It makes me quite happy to see a fuller larder. Next year I have plans to fill jars of dried herbs, lots of herbs. We only recently got a food dehydrator. Got a late start but absolutely necessary with the moist air. I made lavender oil infusion from our plants. Still haven't started on the calendula oil. Comfrey is drying. Basil and parsley have been chopped and frozen into cubes. I'd like to create my own herbal first aid kit to have on hand. Often the herbs don't get harvested at all. We snip what we need to make dinner but none are dried for winter use. Savory, thyme, and rosemary were neglected this year.

Just the beginning

Other plans for next year, expand the dyeplants. I'd like to grow more black hollyhocks. I'd like to buy madder and get it into the terrace. It can take over a section. Japanese indigo would be nice too. I didn't get a chance to dye with tansy yet. I think I'll try the mint too. Since our terrace is all pressure treated wood, avoiding food plants would be best. The pressure treated wood leeches arsenic into the soil. It doesn't have a huge concerntration but it would be best to grow non-food related plants. I think thee barbery plants can go. Yes, I've dyed with them. No, I'm not impressed. Also very tired of pulling thorns out of my palm.

Amaranth

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