October arrived with green grass. I am grateful for the cooler temperatures that the equinox promised and happily, delivered this year. Our one surviving okra is still producing, as are the Mucho Nacho peppers and Jalapenos, but all other spring planted items died and found their way to the compost.
The garden is a north-south rectangle situated alongside the west side of the house. This year, the UV indices were higher than average. Our guess is that the reflected light and heat – off the house – was higher than in previous years, and high enough to kill garden plants in September despite west side shade and ample watering.
So far the fall garden has one okra plant, so-many peppers, and spring onions. We planted half a dozen and “mow” the green onions as needed. We have pea and bush bean seeds to plant on October 10th. Until recently the garden was too hot for anything tender, and now it is too late because the first freeze is creeping up. The average date of our first freeze is November first, only 24 days away! It may be too late for these peas and bush beans too. Somehow I doubt that the first freeze will hit on November first and end the growing season, but just in case…
… we are converting the triangle chicken tractor into a small greenhouse. Our last two chickens were killed by neighbor’s dogs last week. We are not buying new hens this fall, nor in the spring (probably not anyway).
In order to convert the tractor we have to repair the wire (damaged by the dogs who killed the chickens), move the triangle to a full sun location, and wrap it in clear contractor’s plastic. We already have hay – purchased to insulate the coop through winter – that will now serve as garden bed insulation. Initially we were concerned about mice, but we are lucky to coexist with a beautiful female barred owl.
We know she is a girl because of her size. Females are larger than males and she is, by observation, at the large end of the size spectrum. The photo shows a Barred Owl with very light feathers, yet the owl who lives here has more brown in her plumage. If we place the triangle greenhouse in a good sunny spot and keep the grass around it short, she should keep any mice at bay.
We hope to plant a winter crop of spinach and Romain lettuce in the two beds in the triangle greenhouse. Each bed is 7.5 feet long and 2 feet wide. We have the ability to convert the large hoop garden into a greenhouse by wrapping it with contractor’s plastic also, but are delaying that project. We want to learn as many lessons as we can with the smaller triangle greenhouse before making a larger greenhouse.
With highs in the sixties until Halloween, this gardening project should go off without a hitch. Hopefully the next gardening post will have pictures of fresh greens from the new greenhouse!