Hurricane Nate

The Little Free Library at Heritage Cottage all battened down for Hurricane Nate.

Hurricane Nate is currently an hour or two away from making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf coast. The rain is really picking up and the Urban Nano Farm is in the cross hairs of this fast moving hurricane.

We spent the morning putting up the storm panels. We have panels constructed out of polycarbonate that meet the Dade County storm specs. These are great because they let light in. Using plywood for panels creates the feeling of being in a dark cave and unable to see out and observe what’s going on.

Polycarbonate storm panels are light weight and allow light through

The books were removed from the Little Free Library and the door secured. Everything this morning was about getting things put away and reduce the number of potential wind driven projectiles.

EarthBox grown roma tomatoes destined for sauce, if they get through Hurricane Nate with minor damage.

Some plants have been brought in for protection. My dragon fruit, recently purchased pansies and violas, and my rooted cuttings of the yellow-berried yaupon holly I found growing wild in Stone County last fall. Hopefully my heirlooms tomatoes will be mostly spared.

The rain from Hurricane Nate just starting

The good news is the hurricane will be passed us and moving up into the mid Atlantic states, then we’ll get out and see what needs attention.

Plan Now for Fall Tomatoes, But it’s Summer

Since I’ve started to become more garden self-sufficient I’ve discovered that if there are certain varieties of tomatoes I want, especially heirloom varieties, then I need to start them from seed myself. You see the home vegetable gardener can’t rely on the garden centers or big box stores to have much variety.

This is so true in the spring garden season, but what about those of us fortunate enough to have a second tomato season the the fall. You’ve got to be pretty far south, my UNF is in Zone 9a, to have enough time for the tomatoes to ripen. In the past our fall tomato season has gifted us with fresh tomatoes into the first weeks of December.

But one of the realities of the vegetable garden that I’ve learned over the years is if you want fall tomatoes, especially any of the heirloom varieties, you need to start your seeds in the blazing heat of summer. I have a unique germination setup I’ll share in a future post.

For me I like to seed the fall tomatoes by July 4th. This is symbolic as we as a nation celebrate our Independence from England, I feel like I’m celebrating our Independence from the tyranny of the grocery store and same old card board tomato.

Heirloom tomato plugs being grown for fall transplanting

I’ve always grown a selection of fall heirloom tomatoes in my EarthBoxes with Taxi, Black Sea Man and Orange Blossom being good producers. This year I’m only growing an unnamed Roma-type I was gifted from a friend many years ago. Mrs. gardendoc and I will be canning tomato sauce, tomato jam and tomato bruschetta spread to share with family and friends.

For more up to date Changes to the Garden Paradigm follow along on Facebook Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm and Twitter, @realgarybachman