October 2019 Flower Blog
October is my favorite month of the year here in the Pacific Northwest. It marks such a vibrant time of year. The trees seem to be washed in gold, citrine, and rubies. The mists cloak the mornings in mystery and give way to weak sunshine that nevertheless illuminates the forest canopy like brilliant stained glass. Quiet fills the forest, leaves swirl down to crunch under foot, and the winds seem to make everything dance.
My favorite holiday is this month, the dark festival of trickery Halloween! This is the time when we don masks, flip social structures of dark and light, and more traditionally, master and servant. The Celtic celebration of Samhain and the South American Day of the Dead are also celebrated this month. It is a strange time of year in which we revere the cycle of dying and the movement inward of our energies.
My sister came to visit among all the beautiful leaves and frivolity. We decorated the apartment and dressed up for a Halloween game night with friends. Dressing up and decorating is something I haven’t done in years and had truly missed.
In Everett, WA our normal first frost date is October 24th. But it came several weeks early this year, killing back most of my flowers (although, the Rudbeckia and Stock continued to grow slowly). However, I learned that most plants won’t grow well with under 11 hours of light a day. I hadn’t really thought much about this. I just focused on trying to get flowers to bloom before the frost came, but next season I’ll keep a better eye on this transition to less light and know that I’m needlessly struggling to get plants to bloom.
My farming class continues to go well and expand my horizons. I picked up a book on Holistic Resource Management by Allan Savory and I continue to research mushrooms and marketing strategies. We’ve focused quite a bit on cover cropping in our homework. In the middle of October, I suddenly realized I wanted to try cover cropping and see if it would be a viable way to add nitrogen to the soil without purchasing amendments like blood meal in the spring. The less things I have to buy or import into my system the better. However, I’m sure I started the seeds much too late to get a nice living mulch over the soil. They have germinated but remain small, I should’ve sown them towards the middle of September, but we’ll see what they do come springtime.
Nothing has changed much in the garden through October otherwise. It's been mostly clean up and mulching for winter. I did plant all of my bulbs for spring however, and I’m excited to offer tulips, peonies, iris and daffodils as part of my Flower CSA next year!
My job at the farm came to an end as well in early October. There were fewer and fewer hours as the season wound down. I decided to move into a new part time job at MiiR which will support my goal of saving for a down payment on a piece of property to farm. I work in the warehouse picking and packing orders and it’s perfect for my introverted nature. (Why ever did I work in extroverted job roles for so long?!)
My last update is on the violets. They seem to be getting frisky as the weather gets colder! Their stems are definitely lengthening and the flowers are becoming larger. I’m excited to see this trend and hope we get some big blooms this late winter. I gave them a boost of liquid seaweed and I may get some compost to top dress them with as well.