Fall Routines

Spring and summer put rural living in high gear for me. The happenings depend on my fall routines.

There are the goat kids being born, growing up and being sold. Chicks are ordered, arrive, grow up and are sold or moved into the hen house.

goat breeding season comes in the fall
My Nubian buck High Reaches Augustus spends most of the year talking to the does and being ignored. In the fall the does decide he is a handsome beau. The Nubian doe is High Reaches Spring.

Seeds are ordered, seedlings started, garden planted. Wildlife depredations and harvesting take up the summer.

Suddenly it’s over. Fall routines take over.

planting garlic is one of fall routines
In the Ozarks one of the fall routines is planting the garlic bed. I usually plant it around the first of October through six inches of mulch. It’s up and doing well by November. The plants mature in the spring.

Spring kids don’t just happen. Goats have a five month gestation. The does are bred in the fall, preferably in October for March kids. (More goat facts and trivia are in “Goat Games“.)

Killing frost hasn’t been by yet this fall. Still, the deer eliminated so much of the garden, I’m closing it down.

greens are a fall into winter crop in a raised garden bed
The wire cages are deer deterrent. The plastic is pulled up over the plants in the raised garden bed on frosty nights after removing the wire cages. I’m still dreaming of a particular deer becoming venison. The greens will do fine all winter. It is one of the only ways to enjoy spinach in the Ozarks as it usually bolts quickly in the spring.

All of the vines and plants from summer crops must be pulled up and carted off to the compost heap. The various cages are cleaned off, stacked and stored in the chick house for the winter, after the house is cleaned out thoroughly.

I’ve been reading “The Worst Hard Times” about the Dust Bowl survivors. People want to blame the drought for the disaster. In truth, people were the cause because the stripped the land of its grass leaving it open to the drought and high winds.

My garden isn’t on that scale, but the lessons about not leaving the ground uncovered matter here too. I cover the beds with cardboard and mulch.

cleaning out summer crops is one of the fall routines
The long beans, summer squash and okra are done for the year. The plants are pulled. This gives me a chance to repair the beds, dump on compost, cover with cardboard and mulch. The cardboard is optional, but offers better weed control than plain mulch.

This serves three purposes. One is covering the dirt to prevent erosion. A second is to kill out the weeds, mostly dead nettle and chickweed, growing in the beds. The third gets back to another of the fall routines: keeping the old bedding cleaned out of the goat barn.

Goats are messy eaters. As I am now feeding grass hay, more than usual is landing on the barn floor. Every week I cart out loads of this damp manure-filled hay and move it onto the garden. It means a lot less work cleaning out the barn in the spring and good fertilizer on the garden.

Boring as these fall routines are, they are the foundation for a good spring and summer season next year.