In preparation for the first frost that came through on Friday night (October 12-13), we were busy bees harvesting the last of the tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, okra and ristra peppers. But busy as we may be, we are always making the absolute most out of the materials and extras.
Here are a few great ones:
Our sunflowers kept the bees happy all summer and as they dry up and go to seed, we are leaving some in the fields for the birds to snack on now and harvesting and cleaning the seeds out of others in order to feed the local birds through the winter.
Okra stalks, like okra that has been left on the plant too long, are very woody. Sure, we could just toss them in a compost heap but there is an even better way to use them in compost: as aeration. Laying them down as a base where you intend to pile compost aids aeration, which is necessary in high temperature aerobic composting for rapid decomposition and the reduction of initial moisture content.
Just like Allison pointed out in her recent post Planted Too Many Greens?, we sometimes need to thin crops after a direct sow. But that doesn’t mean they have to go to waste. So many of them are edible and incredibly delicious. At Willowsford Farm, we saved, trimmed down and washed all our thinned beet greens for market and they were a hit!
Willowsford Farm is growing at the center of a new community that is also growing. As the developers have had to clear trees in areas where houses are being built, they have cleaned and saved the lumber for use in community buildings. The “Farm Garden Shed,” now home to our Wednesday and Sunday Market, was built with this lumber. So were the picnic tables (inside the shed in this picture). Pretty cool, huh?