The backyard season is a fickle one. Season length can vary by a number of weeks depending on the yard’s orientation to not only the sun but to the surrounding built environment and city location. Such variances are fun exciting and challenges to play with when planning a seasonal harvest strategy. But, death and taxes being inevitable as they are, it seems all good things come to an end. And no matter how much longer one backyard season is compared to another, Autumn happens.
I am grateful for the harvest season and its assured feeling of powering down. The end of the growing season provides its own sorts of great dramatic endings. Like any good music or film wrap-up, the harvest compiles its own “greatest hits” and usually goes out with a celebrated and dramatic bang. As the photo demonstrates above, our late season tomatoes came in an explosion. The September heat gave way to a great wave of super-ripe and super-sweet black princes, green zebras and pink Brandywine. They were all featured in The Corner’s heirloom salad along with Timothy Holt and Naomi Brilliant’s Roshambo Farm tomatoes. The harvest season also puts a skip into my step. While I love to work, this winding down allows for some great protracted thinking and experimenting that the busy growing season usually doesn’t allow for….. and naturally, some much needed time off!!Alongside the tomato harvest I found one of our main connoisseurs, the tomato horn worm. While I am grateful that he likes our tomatoes, he’s not our ideal paying customer. I have some research to do about how he got in there in the first place. I’d seen his relatives on farms back in Vermont, but never before in a back yard. It’s too bad they are not good eating. I might have had me a snack.
In other news, our worm bin is fully thriving with all of the scraps from our harvesting. Here, volunteer Natalie Kilmer cuts our scraps into smaller pieces for the little buggers; more surface area = faster composting.
To prepare for the rain (that is falling in buckets as I write this) that comes here every winter we’ve started sowing some cover crops in our newly emptied spaces. Fava beans, vetch and rye will coat some of our bare ground. Cover crop provides much needed nitrogen fixation and erosion prevention over the winter months. Intensive veggies might not do well during the winter but the cover crops will give us something back while we wait. We’ve also begun experimenting with remineralization with local rock-dust, a bi-product of quarries. And also in anticipation of rain, we’ve buried our inoculated logs from last winter. With any luck, the new moisture brought on by winter will induce fruiting. I’d love to see some shiitake at The Corner over the fall. Cross your fingers for us.
Lastly but never least-ly we’re happy to announce the addition of a new member to the Amyitis Team. Katie Conry has joined up with Eben and I to help manage our web presence. Keep popping back to our blog and see the exciting changes she’s bringing to the blog. We’re delighted to have her as part of the team. I think, dear readers, you will be too.