Saturday, 2 October 2010


I love warm, dry sunny days, with cool evenings. Here in North Carolina we are beginning to experience Autumn. We had our last day of 90ºF something a week ago, followed by rain. Earlier this summer, July, we had tons of rain. We hardly went a week without an inch or two. However, August comes rolling along and the rain dries up. I think we got about two inches from August until last week when we got I think a total of five inches at least, over a period of four days. The rain very much needed, and with it it brought cool weather. Last night it got down to 46ºF, quite chilly. The humidity is not bad at all during the day, though I can tell that it is not too dry, because the dew is quite heavy.

I am looking forward to my garden, when I have cleared out what needs to be cleared, and planted cover crops. I am actually getting quite a few peppers, four or so a week, along with tomatoes. I’ve been making salsa with the bell peppers. Next year I plan to do only one or two sweet pepper plants and do quite a few hot pepper plants.

Today I finally got around to planting garlic. We were at Sam’s and I for under $4, bought 2lbs of garlic (a dozen or more bulbs). I took off the skin, and broke them up into cloves. I then sorted them into, bad (too small for planting, so we will use them to cook with), medium, and large. I ended up with about 70 garlic cloves or medium and large, so a fair number of garlic. I then planted them in accordance to Herrick Kimball (Whizbang Apple Cider Grinder and Press), who grows 1200 annually and makes and sells garlic powder. I planted them about 3 inches deep in the soft soil that I had eradicated the weeds from. The soil up close to the fence is fairly sandy, quite pliable, I really like it. I then used a stick I had carved, to make the holes, roughly four to five inches apart. I did them in rows of four, three. However, before I put the garlic into the holes I tore off strips of comfrey to use as fertilizer (great stuff!). I then covered up the garlic with compost firming it down. I planted 115 or so in one patch. I have another 30 left and will plant close by. The next thing to do is get some straw to mulch it with. I have hay, but I don’t think that is as effective as straw in keeping weeds down (that is the main reason for the mulch). The mulch will also act as an insulator, keep the ground not quite as cold. I hope to get a good crop of garlic next fall. I planted the garlic up by the fence and I plan on doing most of my onion family up by the fence also, to discourage the deer from coming any farther into the garden. They did the most damage in the first few beds right by the fence.

Today I also made a compost sifter. After spending hours and hours reading on Herrick Kimball’s blog and getting many ideas for many things, I decided I needed a compost sifter. It is after all, something rather simple and is very good if you don’t want your compost full of rocks, sticks and kitchen knives. I built a frame (I really just slopped it together) threw together some 1x5” boards and 1x7”. The frame is approximately 16x22” or so. On the bottom of the sifter I nailed down 3/8” screen. For a starting seeds you probably want something slightly smaller than that, but for any other need in the garden the 3/8”s will do fine, eliminating clumps of leaves, grass, and clods of dirt. It easily sifts two shovel fulls at a time. Much more and it doesn’t sift very well, takes longer. I had to do some modifications to it after I tried it out this morning. I had to add handles for shaking it with. I had some 1x3” that was 50” long, I had two of them. So I nailed them to the long side of the sifter and I was set to go. I placed the handles on the wheel barrow, threw in a couple shovel fulls of compost, and sifted away. I could have easily done a full wheel barrow in less than 10 minutes faster if it was totally dry. I would recommend you make a compost sifter if you do not have one, it is free as long as you have some scrap wood and screen around. The tools are a hammer and nails. You might want to reenforce it with screws, but nails will do fine.

News on my apple grinder. I finally got an offer on freecycle for a disposal, right before I was going to call around to all the Restore locations and find which one had disposals. Before than I had been to Lowes to pick up bolts, nuts, and washers for the grinder. Now I all I have to do is put together the frame, wire the motor and hook up the disposal. I would hope to have it up and running by the end of this week.

Well, I guess I should go now. Sorry I don’t have more pictures. I have not been able to find my camera, and thus cannot take pictures of my garden, but can only supply pictures I find on the web.

English Vintner