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What's growing at the abbey, early October


Every year at this time, I discover more wild persimmon trees that I previously hadn’t noticed. Persimmon trees are easily spotted this time of year not only for the persimmons hanging on them, but also because the leaves redden and develop interesting spots and patinas. I found this young tree just today at the edge of my woods. I flagged it with red tape so that I can clear around it this winter and give it room to grow.


Above: Ken sowed beets, turnips, and mustard in the raised beds before he went back to school. The greens are now almost big enough to start harvesting. Former colleagues of mine from the Winston-Salem Journal, who live about five miles from me and who have been gardening in this area for over 30 years, say that February is probably the only month that they’re not eating fresh foods from their garden. I’m quickly beginning to realize the importance of the early spring garden and the fall garden. It’s more fun to work early and late gardens, because the work doesn’t have to be done in the heat of summer. Also, the rain here generally falls more reliably in the spring and fall. This year’s fall garden will have beets, turnips, mustard, the greens from those three, and some sweet potatoes.


Above: Mustard.


Above: The raised beds. And, yes, I hang my laundry on the side porch. I still don’t have a dryer. It hasn’t come up on my priority list, and I haven’t felt any great need for a dryer. I greatly prefer air-dried clothes. And air-drying them is free.


Above: After Ken and I built the garden fence last June, we planted climbing roses on two sides of the fence. The roses are coming along well, but it probably will be two more years before it looks like a rose-covered fence. On the other two sides of the fence — uphill from the abbey in the work area, and the side of the fence that’s up against the woods — I’m letting nature take its course. It’s the honeysuckle, of course, that seizes the opportunity to grow on a fence. In several spots, the honeysuckle has already climbed six feet up the fence. I hope I don’t regret letting honeysuckle grow on the fence. Its vines are extremely aggressive. But it sure does smell nice.


  1. mountain madness wrote:

    Did you put up the short chicken wire fences around the raised beds to keep your friend Mr. Groundhog out of them? Or do you have other little critters snacking on your beds? I bet you miss having Ken around to lend a helping hand in the garden…. What progress the two of you made this summer!! I can’t wait to see what the Abby looks like by next summer!!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Yes … the low run of chicken wire is to keep Mr. Groundhog, and the chickens, out of the raised beds. Isn’t that terrible? Fences within fences. Yes, I do miss Ken. I think he may pass through tomorrow evening on the way hiking (he has a short fall break at school). I’d love for him to be able to help harvest, and eat, some of the greens and sweet potatoes he planted.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink

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