The approach of fall presents a wonderful opportunity for us to speak about the outdoors!
I really appreciate the cooler weather and love being able to spend time outside without getting too hot! Also, when August rolls around each year, I cannot help thinking about the harvests that will soon be coming in from the farmer’s markets- and even from my garden!
I am Marla, the Green Home Coach, and today I am excited to bring you another Everyday Green Home Podcast Teach Talk! In this episode, I will be talking about the harvest, the garden and outdoors, maintenance, and what you need to do to get ready for the cooler weather. I will also share some fun ways to get outside and enjoy the milder weather.
We have the craziest garden, and it is producing right now.
My first harvest
Although we are, at best, experimental gardeners, our very first harvest for this year was a massive Armenian cucumber!
Sustainable and chemical-free experimental gardeners
Being experimental gardeners, we have been trying out many different things. Everything we do gets done as sustainably and chemical-free as possible.
We love our farmer’s market! There is a farmer we buy from there who grows the most beautiful chemical-free produce.
Straw bale gardening
Last summer, we started gardening with straw bales. We did it because Oklahoma has very clay-ey soil, so it takes a lot of compost and augmentation to prepare the soil for growing vegetables.
A raised-bed garden
Using straw bales creates a raised-bed garden, which is a lot easier on the back and knees.
How we got our used straw bales
I placed a notice on our local neighborhood Facebook group just after Halloween last year and once again after Thanksgiving where I offered to collect the straw bales that people had been using as decorations. By doing that, we managed to acquire fifteen straw bales that people would otherwise have thrown away.
Collecting used straw bales gave us an ideal opportunity to reuse some resources that were already out there. We also saved a lot of money because we did not have to pay for them.
Conditioning the straw
Before planting, the straw needs to be conditioned to break it down into compost. We left our bales to sit over the winter, and in early spring my husband treated them with natural fertilizer and water for a few weeks.
Straw bale gardening has been lots of fun, and my husband and I have learned a lot from doing it!
We also grew our own seedlings this year. Unfortunately, the tags I made faded in the sun, so we were not entirely sure what we were planting. Next time, we will find a better way of noting what the different seedlings are.
A drip system
My husband put in a drip system with a timer to water the garden. That allowed us the freedom to spend some time away from home, and still keep our garden growing.
Last year, we heard that an ice storm was coming at the end of October, so we went out into our garden with flashlights the night before the storm and harvested everything.
This year, we plan to be more prepared for the harvest. We also plan to have our garden well-prepared for the winter.
We managed to save some of the seeds from what we planted, and what we bought from the farmer’s market, last year. Some of the plants we have this year come from those saved seeds. We dried them and kept them in the refrigerator to preserve them.
We plan on keeping notes of the things that work best in our garden.
A good time to plant
Fall is a good time to plant new trees and shrubs and to seed new lawns or turf. Look for sustainable turf if possible because it requires less water and maintenance.
For us, outside maintenance includes cleaning up in the garden. I have also been collecting seeds from the wildflowers in our garden.
Inspect your home
Inspect the outside of your home to make sure that everything is in order, for the winter. Remember to do the little things like changing your heating and cooling filters and your water filters. It is a good idea to make a list of all the things that are critical to do to make sure that your home is safe and sound for the cold winter months.
Use a maintenance checklist to make sure that you do everything that needs to be done. A checklist will help you to figure out what you can do yourself, and what you will need professional help with.
This is a good time to declutter. A garage sale is a good way to get rid of any items that you no longer need.
Reuse or recycle
Always try to find ways to reuse or recycle whatever you can. Try to make use of ‘junk services’ wherever possible.
Day trips are fun
Day trips are a good intermediate at this time of year if you are not quite ready or do not have the time to take a long trip.
My website Green Home Coach
Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home
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