For years we were under the impression that gardening was something you only did in the summer but living off the grid tells us that’s not the case.
Fall gardens are our favourite right now, and this year was no exception.
The fall sun is still enough to ripen cauliflower and our favourite Chinese cabbage (napa).
Of course, all root crops also grow well: carrot rutabaga parsnips (we overwinter and eat them in the spring best). Our homestead off-grid garden is best described as year-round.
We’ve been glad it didn’t freeze our more tender crops for the past week, which is a new record for us.
On October 2, the peppers here have yet to freeze some delicious Hungarian peppers.
Our expected frost date is around September 11 each year, with the earliest being September 1.
It’s not hard to see why we’re embracing fall gardens during such a short frost-free growing season.
Watching everything turn black, wither, and die in September isn’t our pleasure, so we try to extend the growing season with hardy crops. In our area, it’s a must if we’re going to eat fresh from the garden.
Living off-grid has its benefits, but it does come at a cost. Adjusting the weather in our area is an actual cost but also comes with huge benefits. It took our time and energy and also some good vegetable crops. Like all regions of North America, we have seen our show Share of extreme weather over the past few years.
Is it just me, or did it not happen 40 years ago? Our climate is changing, and we subscribe to the theory that it will be more “extreme,” not necessarily hotter or colder, but as we’ve seen lately, it’s changing a lot.
Our summers have seen torrential rains from tornadoes, and we can’t even “walk” in the garden, let alone harvest the crops. It’s unbelievable, but we’ve learned to cope…not to cope but to thrive in extreme situations.
Too hot, too wet, too cool, too dry. We cover it by using various continuous plantings and the water available in our streams.
Jane and I don’t spend too much time complaining about the weather. It’s one of those things you “can” complain about all the time because it’s rarely considered perfect.
Why object to something you can’t change? Years ago, we were trying to figure out what to plant, how, and when to plant so we could always reap something. This is where diversity comes from. Some crops we call necessities while others are purely for enjoyment – like growing giant pumpkins. It’s been an excellent year for the Atlantic Giants, and Jane enjoys growing up.
Off-the-grid-like us offers some unique opportunities for some fun hobbies and experiments. This is the one Jane likes.
Due to our abridged growing season, we would never be able to grow an actual record pumpkin, but she did a great job. Go the “sweet” way you’ve done well this year. It’s also been an excellent year for some of the honeydew melons we grow. Northern melon? Yes, every year we plant a variety of new Plants are tested. Finally, our region has a stable producer.
That’s what diversity is all about. Plant many different species and varieties in your garden. Continue planting new ones every year until you find some that work and stick with it…but don’t get complacent. Just because you have a carrot variety you like doesn’t mean You should stop there. Keep buying new carrot varieties to test and retest. Every year we are faced with some new weather phenomenon that we cannot explain, only cope with. Every year we find new ways to keep our gardens thriving. One method is continuous planting – that is, the seeds are planted throughout the planting process growing season so you can keep producing until winter. Do.
One of Off Grid Living Homestead’s goals is to eat at least one meal daily throughout the year through our efforts. For months, we ate at least two meals a day of our own production. Continuous planting and proper storage methods allow us to do this.
Find plants you can grow in the fall, and you’ll be glad you did.
When we first moved to our new home here, we hadn’t cleared the garden land, and our family’s work had to be prioritized from sun up to sun down…but we did take the time to clean up the land around the house. A small piece of land the first summer and our first planting was a small piece of turnip.
After growing a garden every year for most of our lives, this is our first year without a garden. That little piece of radish carries all the promise of our new business. Planted in early September before frost, they grow slowly, but they do. Until it snows. In November, we ate those radishes, each promising a new beginning for Jane and me to live here. The potential of fall gardens shows us the first cool fall in the form of radishes that refuse to die in the first frost. Wither and Fragile but resilient enough to recover every afternoon, they teach us what it means to give everything honestly.
This is just the beginning of off-grid gardening each fall as we learn more about some new vegetables or techniques that allow us to eat fresh in our off-grid living homes.