Good Night, Garden

The forecast is 3 freezing nights in a row, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Though I know that is hit or miss, I don’t want to take the risk, so this morning, after getting the Grands to the bus and preschool, I started with the houseplants that have summered outdoors and with the herbs that I want to overwinter indoors.

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This giant Jade plant was given to Son #1 and DIL by friends when they moved a decade ago.  It has lived at our house every since, each summer moving to the front porch and basically being ignored, catching driving rain and an occasional drink by me for its water.  It has branches that get broken off by dogs, kids, and the wind.  Before I brought it in this morning, it was given an extensive pruning, removing the damaged branches and the branches that were 12-18″ long hanging over the edges.  Also, all the volunteer plants that had come up around the main trunk were removed.  Hopefully it will fare better in the house this winter and less of it damaged by wrestling dogs and running kids.

Also on that north porch were my Hibiscus that I bought three years ago to sit between the garage doors, but instead it summers on the porch and winters in the dining room.  The ginger plant was also out there.  On the back porch were the pots of two Rosemary shrubs, one each of Turmeric, Parsley, Thyme, Mint, and Bush Basil.  I had cut the basil a few weeks ago and dried it, leaving the pot on the south deck and the cut stems budded out and began producing more, so it will be nurtured indoors for some fresh basil.

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Some of the herbs will live in this south facing corner near the dining table.  Others are lined up in the south facing kitchen window.

After preschool pick up and lunch, I visited the garden.  The rest of the peppers, Ancho, Habenero, Tabasco, Bell, and Jalapeno peppers were harvested.  Some of the Tabascos are still out there as they were too green, but I may revisit that tomorrow and pick them as well.  A few more pumpkins were picked, a handful of green tomatoes and more dried beans.  There are a few more beans that can be brought in, but a frost won’t hurt them, nor will it damage any hidden winter squash and pumpkins, which will be much more visible once the leaves are burned back.  The Asparagus bed and the Chard beds were fenced off with chicken wire.  When I reconfigured the fencing for the two chicken pens a few weeks ago, I deliberately overlapped a section of fencing between the laying hens run and the garden.  After I finished in the garden today, I opened that overlap to give the hens the winter run of the garden.  They can peck at the remaining over matured cucumbers and squash, snatch the cabbage worms off of the remaining kale, peck at the fallen split tomatoes and eat weed seeds, hopefully scratching some of them out of the ground.  When I plant the garlic next week, I will put a thick layer of spoiled hay then row cover to keep the chooks from digging it up.

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A 20 quart bucket of peppers and green tomatoes.

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Shelled beans and the next batch of Tabasco sauce pending preparation.

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The corn shock from our popcorn stalks, the only purchased pumpkin (surprisingly light for its size) and the pots of Impatiens decorating the porch.

If it freezes, it will be about 2 weeks earlier than last year, but about average for our region.  The garden has been good, a lot more work than I expected with the expansion, but we have some homegrown goodies to stretch our food budget this winter.

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