Autumn Lethargy

Fall is here already and the days are getting shorter.  Soon it will be dark when I rise in the mornings, and when I arrive home from work.  No more meditative morning strolls in my garden, and minimal sun rays after work.  The light deprivation is already taking its toll.  Like a lot of people the change in season has me dragging a bit, and the cooler air is making me want to stay inside, eat excessively, hibernate and drink coffee. In the evenings I find myself watching too much TV instead of doing the reading I need to do, or working on my website.  This lethargy has to stop, because I still have veggies to harvest, apples & pears to preserve, salsa verde to make, peppers & green beans to freeze, and all my flower and veggie beds need prepared for their winter rest. 

With limited sunlight after work, I depend even more on the weekends now to get my projects done. Then when the weather does cooperate, I hope for enough time & energy.  I know this is a common theme for other avid gardeners, and if you live in Oregon, you also anticipate the relentless rain and chill that is around the corner. That is why the race is on to get it all done in the next month.  For every day I don’t go out in my garden, my panic grows.  Yet I know that every year I manage to get it all done, and then some, and each year it does get easier. 

All that remains in my beds now, as of the 15th October are my tomatoes, green beans, leek, a bell pepper plant and tomatillos.  I also picked a handful of strawberries yesterday which I greedily stuffed into my mouth knowing that they might be the last handful of the season.  Today I got an entire bucket full of green beans in one picking. 

GREEN BEANS

Of all the vegetables that I plant, green beans are the easiest to grow and without fail produce enough to feed my family an entire year.  Nothing tastes better than fresh green beans.  Canned beans don’t even come close in my opinion. When you freeze fresh green beans they are also more nutritious than canned. Check out my recipes under the Vegetable Dishes category for some green bean recipes.  For tips on freezing green beans, check out the catagory on Food Preservation.  

 I used to plant bush beans until I learned how much more I could get if I planted pole beans.  This photo shows what I do.  I plant two rows of green beans on 6 foot pieces of fencing wire propped up by 6 foot metal fence posts. I plant each seed about 6 inches apart. I only plant on one side of the wire rack, because the plants grow so high and then flow over the top and down the other side.  For the last two years in a row I have planted tomatoes on the south side of the beans leaving enough space behind to walk along the bean row for picking.  Even though I haven’t rotated these two crops for several years, they still did fine. It’s probably due to the fact that I add a lot of manure and compost every year and mix my soil up quite a bit.  My tomatoes did better than ever this year, although I didn’t prune them properly.  Next year I definately need to pay more attention to nipping off excess middle branches to get a taller plant and bigger tomatoes.  As long as my tomatoes don’t get the blight, then I’m happy!

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