Monthly Farm Update: September 2022
Some of our top-performing crop varieties of the season are listed in the Garden section.
Overview of the Month:
September flew by for some reason, but it was a productive month. Firewood dominated a lot of the time. We are pretty much ready for winter with the amount we have processed. My back hurts, but I'll appreciate the pain once the temps drastically fall. The D.C.-sponsored Ukraine crisis makes me anxious as it appears the narcissists in Washington can't fathom things not going exactly the way they want. I do not find it beyond them to start a nuclear war. Remember, narcissists, are the vilest broken freaks of nature out there. Psychopaths and sociopaths are also on the narcissist spectrum. The temper tantrums that things are not going according to plan make me think they will continue to provoke Russia toward nuclear war. Russia knows this, and after seeing the NordStream2 get blown up by the U.S. Military, how much longer will they put up with these acts of war? I would think about your fallout plans because we are in uncharted waters led by unstable nut jobs.
I wanted to get some housework done before the cold set in, so I redid some window trim that did not align correctly, caulked various things, and put some insulation up. Only a few more places in the house need to be finished- drywall, paint, and trim put up. The coops are all winterized, and the birds are happy to see the heat go.
Speaking of the chickens, the boys will be going back into the main chicken run with the girls sometime in October. They will be six months on October 11, and most young hens are laying now. Unfortunately, some of the older girls are molting and are pretty lethargic from it. This year, however, we are prepared and give the molting girls scrambled eggs, bugs, and high protein feed to assist their feather growth. They appreciate the support.
We moved the girls into a new pen for several weeks to till up the ground, eat all the grass down, and prepare it for planting. Once the girls sufficiently worked over that section, we spent a few hours moving the girls into a new area, raking the old one, and planting the NuEast winter wheat. This fall is our first time growing wheat, so we wanted to get it planted before the hurricane's rains irrigated it. A big thanks to the girls for helping our garden!
We have so many things going on I do not know how we have time to get it done, but we do. I am working on a new book about Appalachia, which inspires me to talk about collapse in this region. As you may recall, last month, I mentioned I was designing a parallel agriculture education system, which is still in the construction phase. CM and I will send an email out soon about our new podcast channel called "On the Frontlines of Collapse" we have one more to complete and will officially announce it. We wanted to get some content out there before doing the email campaign.
As I said earlier, we planted the wheat and looked forward to seeing how that variety grows here. I have been digging potatoes and the best performers this year are Nicola and Chieftain. Both are from FEDCO seeds and are resistant to Late blight and several other diseases. The nursery trees are starting to change color, and we did have a lite frost on Wednesday, September 28. Apart from some sweet potato leaves getting burned, nothing else was affected. Peppers did great this year. Anaheim, Cayanne long, Aji Amarillo, Gambo, and Sheperd produced excellent crops. Next year we will focus on cayenne for drying and turning into pepper flakes.
We also decided to reduce our crop diversity to focus on potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, burdock, beans (pole, long, bush, and soy), peanuts, garlic, hot peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, Jerico lettuce, and sweet corn. I see no reason to grow many other fiddly crops; it's just too much work and time to care about them. The previous vegetables listed are rugged, reliable, disease resistant, fight food fatigue, and are calorie dense, especially potatoes and sweet potatoes. One of my grafted persimmons, Early Jewel, produced four fruit in its second year! They were pretty delicious. Heritage raspberry is pumping out the berries, too; that is a great variety to have if looking for a late-producing raspberry.
Two cayenne pepper plants decided to spice things up this year. One grew giant cayenne 2-3 times the size of an average one, and another was ripening to a chocolate color. I saved the seeds from these plants, but since they grew close to other peppers, I was worried they could cross-pollinate. So I dug them both up and potted them to bring inside to overwinter on the window sill. Next year I will isolate them so they can produce their crop without fear of crossing, and their seeds will be grown to increase these new varieties. Fun to think we can take these "surprises" and make new varieties out of them.
*Here are some of our top-performing varieties for this year. If looking for potential crops to grow next year, these varieties performed splendidly in our zone 7 climate with clay soil and little input. I will add links to each variety and add a grading system (A+ A- B+ B- C+ C- and so on).
Beans: Pole- Marvel of Venice (A+ insanely productive. Out produced all other beans, including contender bush bean) Blue Coco (B+ good yields, top quality seeds if left to dry for seed saving) Liana Long Bean (A+ outperforms all other yard long beans including the red Chinese, keep producing until hard frost, easy to cook, taste great, I can't recommend this variety enough) Contender Bush Bean (B+ grows well, endures drought, prolific if kept picked, typical bean flavor, I will try provider next year instead)
Sweet Potato- Vardaman (A+ more frost hardy than Beauregard, very productive)
Potato- Cheiftan ( A+ our top producer even during drought, grew great in poor soil) Upstate Abundance ( A- good yields but spud size is consistently small, golf ball size) Yukon Gem (B+ good yields, larger spuds, good taste) Nicola (A+ second best producer of good sized spuds, great yields in poorly compacted soil)
Sweet Corn- Aunt Mary's Sweet Corn (C+ I finally got the time to grow this sweet corn variety after years of searching for seed, short plants make it easy to work with but skunks and other corn robbers can easily pull the ears down, not crazy prolific, perhaps my soil fertility needs to increase for better performance, I think I will grow Stowell's Evergreen next year, Stowell's is much more prolific here)
Hot Peppers- Cayenne Long Thin (A+ great producer of hot peppers, handled drought, peppers dry very easily even in our humid climate, great taste) Aji Amarillo (A+ gorgeous, tall plants with beautiful orange-yellow fruits, nice spice pepper from Peru, prolific, very ornamental plant)
Cucumber- Boston Pickling (A+ prolific, great taste, wonderful canning variety, chickens and ducks love them) Marketmore 76 (A+ great taste, excellent for canning, no pest issues, high disease resistance)
Tomato- Italian (A+ my favorite tomato, huge fruit, prolific, excellent tomato flavor)
While collecting firewood, CM and I brought along a 5-gallon bucket to fill with acorns. We want to try making acorn flour this year. Chestnut oaks were the only ones to drop anything; in about 40 minutes, we had the bucket full. I will have to report next month on how that experiment pans out. We hope you had a safe and productive month. As we head into winter we encourage you to source additional heating options because Lord knows what is coming. Till next time friends.