It’s been a mild fall here so far; hopefully I didn’t just jinx Michigan. Only a couple of nights where it got below freezing, and generally pretty nice weather for late October. Makes for happy lettuce.
With the changing seasons in mind, I putzed around in the girls’ coop. Picked up a roll of faced insulation to put on their walls. I’m not sure whether they’ll bother it. So far, so good. But if they start pecking it, I’ll need to get out the drywall tools.
I also found a junk piece of plexiglass in the barn (full of pretty letters and arrows) that went up over the windows for keeping out those west winds when the temperatures dip to minus 20. Not sure how much warmth it’ll keep in because there are roof vents directly to the outside, but from what I understand, drafts can be dangerous, but ventilation is necessary.
My little blueberry bushes are still plodding along. I’m pretty sure they’re not growing as well as they should be. Our soil is naturally very alkaline, and I added natural sulfur to it last year, but the crude soil test I did still says it’s in the alkaline range. I decided to mulch with naturally acidic spaghnum peat moss and see if that helps. I you have any hints for blueberries, I’m all ears.
About a month ago I got off my rear for a second and planted a few six-packs of lettuce seed indoors. It somehow always seems silly planting a few seeds indoors when the whole garden’s bursting at the seams.
But now it doesn’t seem silly. The little seedlings would have had a rough go outside in the last month of dry, 90° temperatures. They should do fine now. The temperatures are gradually decreasing, and the grass-clippings-mulch should keep them happy. Later I’ll get out a little cloche, that should help them through some light frosts.
From experience I know that you actually have to think ahead sometimes. The cloche full of salad crops will be situated where I won’t grow melons next year until I change my mind.
I’ve been noticing that I generally do a lot more work and obsessing about the garden in the frozen months than I do in the hot ones. Once the garden’s in and mulched, granted there are chores; weeding, watering, weekly doses of worm tea. But those things are matters of minutes. In the winter I can spend hours and days just thinking about one small aspect of the garden. In the summer, it’s more look and enjoy.
My lettuce eyes are always bigger than my lettuce stomach. I usually plant way more than we could possibly eat. Today I harvested one of the Cos heads and some oak leaf. Luckily we’re going visiting tonight, so this will be be the door gift instead of a bottle of wine.
And it always makes me happy to find my little friend sunning himself, keeping watch over the future browns in my center compost bin…