The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Rainy summers are good for fall crops

Pea sprout

This rainy summer has been problematic in some ways, but handy in others.  For example, the tiny persimmon trees I set out in our pastures last fall have been thriving despite my usual summer neglect of anything not in the vegetable garden.  June bugs have been leaving our blackberries alone for the first time ever.  And the seeds of fall crops are sprouting with no extra effort on our part.

Baby Brussels

Actually, I dutifully started a round of fall cabbages, broccoli, and brussels sprouts on the porch, only to have a mouse come along and nibble off every cotyledon.  (That's what I get for storing cover crop seeds in the open near my seed-starting area.)  But then I realized that the only reason I started the fall crucifers in flats last summer is because it was too hot and dry to sprout them in situ.  So I poked a bunch of little round seeds in the ground right where I wanted my crops to grow and waited for the copious rain to make things sprout.

Watermelon and

On the negative side, we had an unexpected problem that was linked to the rain in a roundabout way.  I've read that you shouldn't water your garden every day, because then the roots stay close to the surface and your plants wilt if there's a drought.  What I didn't realize is that a sodden June and July had the same effect on our crops, so when we actually spent a week at normally hot temperatures with no rain, our watermelons nearly died.  Good thing I had one patch in a different spot where they were subirrigated by the swamp resulting from roof runoff.

I hope your fall crops are up and running like (most of) ours are.  Autumn is looming on the horizon and pretty soon, it'll be too late to plant anything except leafy greens and winter cover crops.

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free addition that brings clean water to pampered hens.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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