Today seems like a spring day, blue skies, 68ºf, sunshine. With the several mornings of frost on the grass and the windshield when taking the grands to the bus stop and then below freezing temps and snow flurries all day Sunday, I knew the garden was done. Since the day is gorgeous and Jim is off enjoying it on the Harley, grands in school, daughter and SIL at work, it seemed like a good day to put the garden to bed for the winter.
Boy was I surprised when I got out there. The pepper bed which happened to be right behind a big round hay bale that I rolled in before finishing the fence last spring though slightly frost bitten was still hearty plants loaded with peppers.
An 8 quart bucket was filled and those peppers will be chopped and frozen for winter use. The plants were then pulled and tossed in the chicken run for them to pick at the leaves and remaining peppers that were too small to bother picking.
The Echinacea is still blooming, it was tucked down beside the rotting bale of hay.
The herb bed is still thriving too with several mints, rosemary, hyssop, and oregano.
And lots of swiss chard. We have a few mild days and a bit of rain expected, but before the next cold night, the mint and oregano will be cut to dry and a sprig of rosemary cut to root for the kitchen window garden of the winter. I think the herb bed is going to be covered with a row cover to try to save the rosemary for the spring.
The Tithonia was mostly bloomed out and the plants dry so it was pulled and tossed in the chicken pen for them to get the remaining seed from the seed heads. It will be planted again next year, but it with the sunflowers are going to be on an edge of the garden, not in the middle. The asparagus ferns were dry so they too were cut back to a couple inches and then all of the beds that had been cleaned out, the tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, sweet potatoes, garlic, and onion beds were all heavily layered in old hay with the garden stakes laid on top to help hold it down from the winter wind and the chickens that get in the garden.
The big roll of hay, with much effort was moved from in front of the gate where it had protected the peppers. Much of it used on the beds. The remainer will mulch the large area where the corn was grown, and around the raspberries. They still need to be cut back and thinned, but their leaves are gone so it shouldn’t be too difficult a job. The containment rings are going to be set around clumps of them and cardboard heavily mulched will be placed around the rings and over to the edges of the garden boxes.
Though I love my home grown garlic, I think I am going to skip a year and see if I can break the cycle of the nematodes that damage about a third of the harvest each year.
The second fence around the garden that would make a 3-4 foot wide chicken run all the way around the garden never was completed last spring. I have the posts, but need to replace a section of fencing on the north side of the garden, move a comfrey plant, and set the new fencing. This will also necessitate two new gates and one of them will need a substantial gate post set.
The rest of the putting to bed activity will have to wait for tomorrow or this weekend. Two or three hours of pulling plants and weeds is enough for one day. The pigweed, smartweed, horsenettle, and some tall mint family weed in spite of the earlier weedings required a fair amount of today’s energy.
These girls weren’t much help.
The header was yesterday’s morning sky while waiting at the bus stop. With daylight savings time starting this weekend, it will be light at the bus stop next week, but dark so much earlier in the evenings. I don’t think daylight savings time is a good thing.
Off to pick up the grands from the bus. Until next time.