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

Winter is icumen in

Summer gardenAs soon as the calendar flipped over to July, I could feel the slow descent into winter begin.  I was already planting fall crops, and the scorching heat in June made our normal summer temperatures in July feel relatively cool.

August seems even more like the beginning of fall.  I spent all morning Thursday setting out broccoli and Brussels sprouts seedlings (a little late for both, but I hope they'll make it, perhaps with a little frost protection).  This week also marked the first round of oilseed radishes, planted in beds that will now be fallow until spring, along with the last seeding of a summer crop (one more bed of crookneck squash.)

Despite seeing winter on the horizon, our summer crops are coming in with a vengeance.  I sent Ripening butternutMark to town Tuesday with two big bags of squash and cucumbers --- "and don't come home until they're all gone!"  (He foisted the vegetables off on appreciative librarians.)  I'm saving seeds and freezing winter soup as fast as I can too, of course.

Even the winter keepers are starting to ripen.  The earliest-planted butternut squash are turning brown, and the leaves are beginning to lose their vibrant summer form.

It's hard to believe that we only have five frost-free months to grow all of these tender vegetables, but somehow it all gets done (and they all get eaten).  Good thing we budget time to simply enjoy the bounty!

Our chicken waterer lets you go out of town for a weekend or a week without worrying about your flock.

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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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August sixth is cross quarter--halfway between the beginning of summer and beginning of fall. I've noticed dry pecan leaves piling up against the front steps, and katydids beginning to call.
Comment by Errol Fri Aug 3 10:46:21 2012

I started our garden late, so I didn't get as much planted as I wanted. Using the huggleculture method really helped us grow bigger potatoes. So I have an area in the back with 3 new huggle rows for potatoes next year. I am also starting one up on the hill behind us for potatoes the following year.

My winter cabbage is growing nicely in 1 gallon pots and I put carrots in one gallon pots and they are coming too. Excited!

I will be building a huggle pile behind the trailer for sweet potatoes next year. Hope they turn out good.

I followed your advise with our winter squash and added more nitrogen. Low and behold, the witner squash took off like a gray hound. Ha! Ha!

Thanks for that advise.

Have a great fall.

Comment by Mona Fri Aug 3 13:15:45 2012

Daddy --- The cross quarter days do seem to suit my seasonal indicators more than the solstices and equinoxes. Of course, I really think we need more than four seasons --- it's clearly not fall right now, but it's not the same kind of summer it was before either....

Mona --- Glad to hear your garden is thriving! I'm also excited to know that nitrogen perked your winter squash right up. I hope the rest of your year turns out as well!

Comment by anna Fri Aug 3 15:46:50 2012

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