Wishetwurra Farm, September 2014

Another month has come.


September, the month whose name means “seven” but whose place in the order of the year is actually ninth. Who thought that one up??? The Roman Senate, that’s who. They decided that Julius Caesar should have a month named after him, and voila! Unfortunately, Julius got to enjoy his newly named month only once, before getting et-tued. Thinking they were on to something, Senators then named the following month for another Emperor, Julius’s nephew Augustus.

In a truly astonishing move, they added a day to August, since when you’re naming months after emperors, you wouldn’t want to have one of those months have only 30 days when the other month has 31 days? I have no answer to “Who thought that one up?”. Except to observe that politicians do not seem to have changed much in the last two thousand years.

We leave ancient Rome for the pretty-much-monthly Wishetwurra Farm tour.

In the greenhouse, fall crops are underway.


I suppose it’s really a “plastichouse”. Fall greens and a last catch-crop of basil are coming up. Garlic chives form a white-blooming row. Every day, scores of bumblebees come to visit. They wallow in the blossoms. Garlic chives would be a good plant in a perennial border. The flowers come at a time when not many other perennials are blooming. The long-stemmed, long-lasting blooms are nice by themselves or in a bouquet.

Out of the plastichouse up the ladder for our view from on high.

The “North”.


The asparagus patch is responding to a nine-inch-deep layer of manure with six inches of eelgrass seaweed on top. It has lots of new light green growth. This section of the garden has our fall beets and carrots, which will be stored before hard winter comes. On the far fence, gourd vines twine.

The Middle Kingdom.


The hose is a hint that we have had to water a lot this season. We’re at least a foot of rain “behind” where we ought to be. In response, we have mulched almost every square foot of the garden. The strip of green nearest is the new strawberry patch. In the middle, the pumpkin patch is yielding to mildew and to age, exposing fruit to the sun. In back of the pumpkin patch is a row of fall coles — broccoli, cauliflower, kales, cabbage, and minestra nera.

The “West”.


Not much more comment needed here. The corn in the distance is about ten feet high. I haven’t peeled back any of the husks to see how the kernels are faring, but will before too long. The silks are browning nicely.



The fifty feet of fall cole crops. Fall-maturing coles are the sweetest and tenderest. Many say the cool nights and short days improve their flavor. Some say kale is only good after it’s been hit by frost. To the left of the coles are edamame, celeriac, peppers, bunching onions, parsley, basil, and more coles.


I’ve been trying out the “Paul Jackson” soil improvement system. In late summer, you put down 9-12″ of manure, and seed the area with oats and other annual cover crop seeds. The plants shelter the manure, shade the soil, and after being killed by winter cold, make a mulch on the surface.


Here’s the same area, seen from the other side. You can see little buckwheat plants popping up. The next growing season, in places like this, you can plant squash or tomatoes or other crops that don’t mind the coarse, manurey layer. When you see this area in a year, the layer of manure will be turning into nice, dark humus. The foot of material will have settled to three or four inches. One of these days I’ll give a more thorough report on the soil building program at Wishetwurra Farm.

What’s a garden without flowers?


The zinnia patch. Late-summer butterflies have been enjoying the flowers. Few monarch butterflies have been seen this summer. We had not seen any until about a week ago, when we saw one flying near South Beach. Much to our delight, in the last three days we’ve had three monarchs visit the zinnia patch.

We have a zinnia cousin at the edge of the middle path.


Tithonia. The “mexican sunflower”. Sometimes I think a garden is not a garden without this wonderful plant. Bees and butterflies love it, and goldfinches are fond of the seeds.

The last few frost-free early-fall months of the gardening year are ahead.

Days of harvest, days of abundance.

Wonderful days.



One response to “Wishetwurra Farm, September 2014

  1. Delightful. I had not heard of ‘cole’ before, but was thinking it would be the same as the German ‘kohl’ which is cauliflower – went to wikipedia and I guess right. I expect if we live on opposing corners of the country we will get a few dialectic differences.

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