Things to Do this fall:
- Rip out the annual plants that have stopped producing
- Clean up all the cold-tender plants that have finally given up
- Mulch the bananas
- weed the perimeter of the yard, mulch with cardboard and refresh the black mulch
The above is the wish list of what would have been great to get to this weekend. In reality I’ll settle for just working on the small veggie patch. I injured myself this week running and have a mild case of Achilles tendonitis. Basically moving my foot up and down is not happening for a week. Rest, Ice, Elevation & Compression. I can manage to hobble around a little and since the veggie garden is closest to the house that is going to be what I focus on today.
The aftermath of the snow and the multiple cold fronts that blow in for a day or two and then leave again has left the garden worse for wear. Here’s a picture of the same spot in our yard over the course of two weeks:
Things are definitely starting to look more wintry and not as much the tropical paradise it still sort of felt like only two weeks ago.
Although I covered the tomatoes up during the snow, there were other cold fronts that blew in for a night or two where temperatures dipped down to 31 or 33 and I didn’t cover the plants. So they ended up sustaining some significant damage anyways. I think a poly tunnel greenhouse would probably have kept them alive just fine. Maybe I’ll get to making one of those next year so I won’t have to bother with the covering and uncovering. I wouldn’t be surprised if peppers and eggplants would live all year round here inside an unheated greenhouse. At any rate, I’m tired of looking out the breakfast nook windows and seeing this:
Today is a mild cleanup day, just getting the worst of the worst in the veggie beds taken care of in between rain showers. All of the tomatoes and eggplants were ripped up and chopped up into tiny pieces and laid on top of the soil as a mulch around the leggy peppers that were left. In a week or two I’ll plant spinach and other cold hardy leafy vegetables where the tomatoes were.
The pepper plants were left in the ground, a few got a little trim. Sometimes they are hardy enough to make it through the winter. Most of the plants still have flowers and are still growing the existing fruits.
What is ready to pick
Right now it is mostly lettuce greens and tender herbs that are available for use. There’s still a few radishes developing, and Calendula flowers have been blooming sporadically. I’ve been drying those to use in a salve as an experiment. Sunchokes are almost ready, the tops have all died back and after I’m sure they’re truly dead I’ll dig through my sunchoke bucket experiment to see how they did being in a pot vs. being in the ground. Same for the horseradish. I’m eagerly anticipating the persimmons being ripe as well.
I need to figure out how to use mustard greens. I planted a lot of them considering the space available and have not yet figured out how to use them other than on an occasional sandwich. Maybe this is a 2-4 plant thing for our house like arugula rather than a 20 plant thing…
So far there are still things to look forward to. Since this is the first year I’m seriously trying to do year-round gardening, I’m sure there will be dead spots where nothing is producing. When that happens, whether it is dead of winter or early spring, or next week, I’ll have a goal to figure out what can be planted when to fill that spot.