So it has arrived – the month at which Summer turns to Fall! This is such an awesome time of the year for many reasons. It tends to be very beautiful. If you live in an area where there are many trees that are not of the evergreen variety then this stunning beauty is nothing new to you. Hues of orange & yellow meeting the blue sky is such a pleasing canvas. We have had the joy of vacationing in Tennessee early October and my, my, MY – JUST STUNNING! Alas… no vacation this year. Not going to beat that dead horse today – moving on! We have so many more positive things to focus on this month.
From Summer to Fall
The garden is always a mess this time of year. Some beds look just plain pitiful if I’m being 100% honest. The heat has ruined most of our Spring greens and what the heat didn’t get, the bugs did. This is nothing unusual but I felt the need to gripe just a little. So where does the positive come in? Well Fall is time to reinvent the farm a bit. Bed turnovers and crop rotation change the face of things rather quickly around here. For instance, the bed pictured below once had beans and Summer squash varieties in it. It has been amended with aged compost and now leafy greens live here and will until mid Winter. In a different bed where zucchini was planted our snow peas are coming up. Soon the area will be teaming with the beautiful lavender and white blossoms. Whatever failures and mistakes were made in Spring and Fall can literally be covered up and you simply start again. In this way season change over here at Bain Home Gardens is quite forgiving.
Sowing Our Seeds & Expanding
Creating new beds for our farm expansion project has been rather labor intensive. Our friends over at Hawkins Homestead Farm have been using a type of permanent bed system and with great success. They invited us to try it as well so we are experimenting with a few of those. You already know that these trials will be documented carefully so that we can assess how well these work for us as opposed to our usual high density technique. This has meant moving loads of compost, spreading, leveling… As I type my shoulders are saying, “massage me!” However the pain is so worth the gain! So far we have planted collards, mustard greens, kale, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and we didn’t even mention all of the root crops! We do not like to put all of our eggs in one basket so the planting has been split between the field and Hoopty. These have been and continue to be planted in succession to extend our harvest window.
In addition to the native Fall crops we are running trials with with a few non native vegetables, among these is artichoke. It is a beautiful edible ornamental plant that we would love to include in our landscaping. In addition we have heard that the flavor of a freshly harvested artichoke will blow your taste buds away!
Just recently we began to dig up our sweet potatoes. You can watch a short video of the beginning of the harvest here. These will be cured and most will be made available to our CSA members and our family. As we continue to harvest we will have a better idea as to if these can be made available to the general public.
Fall is also the time of the year that we plant our bulbing plants – flowers, onions and garlic. Beds also have to be amended and prepared for these as they should be shipped to us with in the next few weeks. Many of these will not be ready to harvest until May – July of 2021! TALK ABOUT PLANNING AHEAD!
September – Why Special for BHG?
We mentioned earlier that September is a very special month for Bain Home Gardens. We wanted to elaborate on why. On September 23rd 2019 a dream began to be realized for our family. That is the week we broke ground on our high tunnel that we have affectionately come to call Hoopty. To think a structure of wood and plastic could change the face of a business. Admittedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly limited just how much change has been implemented but we see great potential! Here is a cute little video in which we take a little walk down memory lane. I’m a firm believer in never forgetting where you came from. It took a little less than three months to complete our structure. It was well worth the time!
Because we were able to start planting earlier in Hoopty, this years cucumber, tomato, pepper and okra harvest have been more than prolific! We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We have been able to supply our family, Kith & Kin CSA and and our loyal customers throughout the Wiregrass; not to mention the jars we have canned and bags we have frozen. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies however. We have certainly had our share of failures in learning to grow in this unique ecosystem. We have learned what grows well in this environment and what doesn’t. As I feared, pests have been a huge irritant. These issues you could say are a part of the learning curve for high tunnel growing. Thankfully we have received guidance from the best in the trade and are paving our own way by creating a knowledge base for growing organically. We are taking notes on every single thing and are certain that this will ensure that the 2021 growing season will be even more spectacular!
This month also marks the beginning of our Fall CSA. Thanks to farm expansions on both farms we offered more shares this season than we ever have! This is very exciting for us. This community continues to grow each season and we are excited to welcome our new members as well as welcome back our members that have been with us since the beginning!
You may have noticed that our produce listings have been more limited as of late. As aforementioned the Fall turnover on the farm will temporarily limit available produce options. However we are very excited to be able to offer even limited options year round. This is what we have available this week:
- Basil – We have Purple, Thai, and Genovese varieties. If you have a preference please indicate.
- Lemon Grass
- Pepper Basket
- Jams & Jellies
Keep in mind that our Summer Plant Sale is also underway. We are happy to help you get your Fall gardens established with plants from our Clean Starts selection. If you want to feed your family your own home grown goodness then this is a fantastic place to start!
All in all it has been an extremely busy month! We have the calluses to prove it! It is however so rewarding to work hard and see the fruits of our labor! Check back next month for more goings on at Bain Home Gardens.