Fall Newsletter Header

Photo: R. Darke

Dear Deb,

Fall is here, and so is our issue of Organic with the Seasons, the organic homeowner's newsletter!  It might be getting a little cooler, and some leaves might be just beginning to change, but your yard is still growing!  

In this Issue:

Photos of our "Planning for the Fall and Winter Harvest" workshop

A schedule of all of our upcoming workshops

Advice on talking to your neighbors about going organic

How to deal with fallen leaves naturally 

 

In case you missed it: 

Last week we had our Planning for the Fall and Winter Harvest Workshop at Common Ground! Even though it's getting cool out and leaves are falling, Shannon Raider shared her experience as Farm Manager at Common Ground and showed workshop participants that they can still grow food if they grow the right crops with the right equipment.  

Fall Harvest Photo 1    FallHarvest4

Hardy greens grow well in the fall and winter in New England.  You might want to try: kale, collards, lettuces, spinach, turnips, mustard, escarole, endive, arugula or leeks.  Most need to be established in the summer, but some can be seeded or planted in the early fall.

 Fall Harvest 3  Fall Harvest 2
Shannon also showed the workshop participants how to extend the growing season, by covering plants with reemay.  Gardeners have used burlap or another type of cloth at night to keep frost off of plants, but reemay keeps frost off while allowing heat and sunlight in during the day.

 

It's also time to plant another one of our favorite garden plants: grass! If you want a good lawn and have bare or thin spots, or want to establish a lawn, sow seeds of a mixture of grasses soon.  The cooler and wetter weather and lack of competition from summer weeds makes it easy for grass to germinate and grow well. Ryes and fescues are a good choice because they are sturdy, low maintenance grasses.

 

For more information on fall plantings, think about our "Season Extension" workshop on September 17, check out "Battered Gardens can be Spruced Up with Fall Plantings" from northjersey.com for information on decorative fall gardening and "Grow Your Best Fall Garden: What When and How" on motherearthnews.com for fall vegetable garden advice.

Darke Autumn

Photo: R. Darke

Contact us:

logo

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut
Phone:
(203) 888 5146
Homepage:
www.ctnofa.org
Blog:
www.ctnofa1982.blogspot.com
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ctnofa

NOFA OLC logo

The NOFA Organic Land Care Program Phone:
(203) 888 5146
Homepage:
www.organiclandcare.net
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/nofaolc

Mark your calendar for: 

The CT NOFA Annual Meeting

October 29 ~ 12 - 4 pm

Common Ground High School

Want to learn more?

Check out some upcoming workshops:

 

NatureWorks: Organic Lawn Renovation

September 10 ~ 9:30 - 10:30am

Natureworks in Northford, CT

 

CT NOFA: "Season Extension and What You Can Still Do In Your Garden" 

September 17 ~ 10:00am - 1:00 pm

Common Ground High School, New Haven  

 CT NOFA:"Permaculture Workshop" 

September 19 ~ 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Center for Sustainable Living, Bethlehem

 

NOFA OLC:"Green Up Your Yard with Organic Land and Lawn Care:  Save Money and the Environment"  

September 29 ~ 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Southington Public Library, Southington

 

CT NOFA: "Preserving the Harvest (on a budget) Freezing and Drying"  

October 15 ~ 10:00am - 12:00pm

Common Ground High School, New Haven

 

CT NOFA:"Preserving the Harvest - Canning" 

October 15 ~ 1:00PM - 4:00PM  

Common Ground High School, New Haven

 

CT NOFA:"Cooking with Seasonal Food"  

October 22 ~ 1:00PM - 3:00PM  

Common Ground High School, New Haven 

   

For more information click on the title of the workshop and to register please call our office!

 

Spreading the word
Beyond Pesticides Door Hanger

Beyond Pesticide's door-hanger

 

You know that uneasy feeling you get when you see those little yellow "Pesticide Application" signs all over your neighbor's yard?   It is difficult to discuss this moral, environmental and health concern with your neighbors but neighbor-to-neighbor conversation is one of the best ways to further the organic land care movement.  So how should you go about it?

  • If you are employing organic lawn care techniques on your lawn, and you've found them to be successful, inexpensive or low-maintenance, talk to your neighbors about this! 
  • If they have children: discuss the fact that Connecticut has banned the use of pesticides on school property.  Why would these pesticides be safe at home if they are not considered safe at school?  
  • Beyond Pesticides provides a kit for individuals to use door-hangers to promote organic lawn care. Beyond Pesticides points out that many people just assume that our government's regulatory processes are enough to keep them safe, while this is often not the case.
  • This advice from Safe Lawns also emphasizes that knowledge is power, and that your tone should be one of concern, not impatience, when you talk to your neighbors.   
  • Reach out beyond your own neighborhood. Work with your town government to put in place voluntary bans on lawn chemicals or to create a program like  Project Green Lawn in Middletown.   
Leave it to Compost!
Compost Diagram

Figure: Mount Wachusset State College

The leaves that fall on your lawn have a vital role in the ecology of your yard, so they should stay there! Here are some ideas: 

  • Rake less (or not at all!) This article in Fine Gardening recommends that you mow your leaves turning them into lawn mulch. 
  • Use your leaves to naturally mulch your garden to retain moisture and protect bulbs or roots of perennials from the cold winter.  
  • Add leaves to your compost pile to provide carbon-rich materials, especially if you mostly compost food scraps (which are nitrogen-rich).  You want 1/3 - ½ of your compost pile to be these carbon-rich brown materials, and you should try to layer in your leaves or stir the compost pile.
  • If you don't have food compost, you can create a leaf pile off to the side in your yard (or in the woods if you have them) and add some water so the leaves have a "spongy" texture (not too much because this can disrupt the oxygen flow into your compost pile) to accelerate the decomposition in the pile.  This leaf compost will take longer to decompose, but can still be used as a natural fertilizer for your garden in the spring and summer

 I found a lot of helpful information on this website, called "Home Composting Made Easy" 

 

If you have news you'd like to share in the next "Organic With the Seasons" or a topic you would like to hear more about in the winter issue, please send it to kristiane@ctnofa.org
CT NOFA / PO Box 164 / Stevenson, Connecticut 06491 /
 
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