Cornstalks on the ground, and Jasper tilling up the old pea patch for garlic. That’s what it looks like on the farm this week. The only things still standing are the late sunflowers and the pumpkins, which are slowly ripening.
I didn’t feel as bad as I usually do cutting down the farm garden this year, knowing that next year we’ll probably be living there and will most definitely be sowing the whole field. We only did half the garden this year, because Gary (the currant tenant) said he was going to use the other half. He didn’t, but oh well. We still managed to put an amazing amount of food by. Gallons of frozen apple cider, shelled peas, beans, pesto, and berries; pickled beans and cucumbers; jars of canned tomato sauce, applesauce and apple butter.
The only real disappointment we had was that we didn’t get as much corn as we’d hoped, and the ears were all very small. I think I planted them too close together for one thing, and for another we just weren’t able to water as consistently as we should have. I guess that’s part of the problem of living 45 minutes away from your garden! I’m consoled thinking about next year, however, and everything I’ll do differently (thank god for “next year” when you’re a gardener!)
Besides the corn (whose poor performance was squarely our fault), everything else did magnificently. I really don’t have a Good, Bad, or Ugly list to give you concerning the farm garden. Obviously, we’d like to grow more of everything, especially corn and peas, which are staple foods in our house. More potatoes, too, especially Yukon Golds, reds, and russets for baking.
I am reevaluating my cucumber plans for next year, though. At home they did poorly, but here at the farm they OVER produced! I had three Tendergreen Burpless slicing cucumbers, seven SMR-58 pickling varieties, and one bush pickle. As a result, I’ve got dozens of jars of pickles in the cupboard, and we ate more cucumber salads than was good for us. The plants are still pumping out cukes, too, but I’m kind of sick of them. I might scale back to just six plants total – three Tendergreens and three SMR-58s. I guess it will depend on how many pickles we eat this winter.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out where to put everything we want to plant. I know that we have a whole winter to get through before we can plant anything again (with the exception of the garlic), but I feel like there’s a hurry to do it, anyway. Beginning at the first of the year, farmhouse renovation will begin (I’ll do a separate post with all the updates concerning that, don’t worry!). I’m sure it will behoove us to have a plan for the garden already in place, so we can direct all our problem-solving powers at the house.
I’ve never had such a large area to plant though (roughly 70′ by 30′), and I honestly have no idea what I’m doing! I want to make an official plan, and permanent open raised beds (not boxed in, just earthen), so that rotating crops will be an easy process. I’ll let you know how that goes.
All-in-all, I would say that 2016 on the farm was a resounding success! What failures we had have a silver lining, serving as lessons for next year.
And, oh boy, I can’t wait for next year!