Time for another update... Though there's actually not a lot to report. Autumn has arrived, meaning it's cool enough to want a sweater in the morning but by noon you're wishing you were wearing shorts. ;)
Seriously though, after the Hurricane Laura hit the coast, we got some nice rain, followed by a few days of 95°+F & 95% humidity, but after that temps have been fairly pleasant, in the 80s & 90s, with some days of rain mixed in. This has allowed me to work on some things, and has really helped with the burn out mentioned in the last update.
1. I've been cleaning up the annual & forest gardens by chopping the dead/dying stuff and using it as mulch in the food forest. Currently in the annual garden there's still a few okra plants, some peppers, a few greens that made it through the summer, some of the yard-long beans, plus a few tomatoes that survived the chop and put out some new growth after the rain. I also still have the HUGE broccoli (I think) plants that grew all summer, but never produced anything (though it's possible they aren't broccoli and I forgot what I put there). Also the sweet sorghum got chopped for pig/poultry food after I saved some seeds, and has put out a lot of new growth.
In the forest garden I still have a bunch of sweet potatoes that I've been chopping the vines for the animals as I get ready for harvest. There's one pumpkin plant in the hugel, and luffa vines all over. Additionally, I tossed black-eyed peas in the open areas after I harvested onions and potatoes and those suckers have tried to really take over. Lately I've just been harvesting a few pods at a time because the plants are a haven to the mosquitos that swarm me whenever I disturb them.
Most of the annuals are being left alone, so I can save seeds from them since they survived with very little care or irrigation. I didn't save tomato or tomatillo seeds because I suspect I'll have plenty of volunteers next year.
2. I've been debating sowing a fall/winter garden, so decided to "compromise" and will be doing a few things in containers, the keyhole and other empty spaces. Normally I'd plant in the annual garden but, since the pests were so bad this year, I want to periodically run the silkies (chickens) and the geese/ducks through the garden to eat any bugs/larvae they find, and hopefully some weed seeds while they're at it. Right now I'm putting a little fence around the annual garden, but may expand it to include the forest garden once things start going dormant and I can see what will need protection from the birds.
3. I've begun dumping rabbit manure on the empty spaces in the garden, but am holding off on the wood chips until I can get the birds in there for bit to mix it with the top layer of soil and find/eat weeds/seeds. Since I have a steady supply of the rabbit manure, I'll probably add another layer, then the chips, then I'll let the poultry go through again and mix the chips with the manure; which really seems to help the chips break down and provides a nice planting medium in the spring.
4. My moringa is setting seed and hopefully they'll ripen before it gets too cold. I messed up last year by stratifying the seeds in the fridge, and they ended up rotting.
5. The apple trees seem to be broken... Meaning they've put out some flowers in the wrong season. Hopefully they're just enthusiastic and will bloom again at the right time of year.