As the gardening season begins to wind down, I've taken advantage of the past few cooler days to start my fall garden cleanup. I'm probably a good month ahead of my usual time for clearing out the garden and readying it for the next year, but the older I get, the more I hate to rush. I don't have a lot of room for composting the spent plants, so they have to be bagged for pickup on Thursdays. I filled a lot of bags with squash vines and corn stalks, as well as prunings from cutting back excess foliage from my three remaining tomato plants. The plants were so lush, I was missing quite a few ripe tomatoes. I also pulled quite a few marigold plants that had been broken down and flattened during our windstorm last week.
Yesterday I picked the beans from the earliest planted Fortex pole beans (left side of kennel), pulled the vines and cleaned them all off of the chain link. That was a full day's job! I ended up with 8 pounds of beans, so I called the local Fields of Grace
to see if they could use them. They glean fields and home gardens for the food banks, and they were happy to come by for the beans. I threw in a few butternuts and sweet peppers as well. I wish I'd known about their organization earlier! I have their number for next year. I left the later planting of Fortex beans, on the right side of the kennel. They will give us plenty for fresh eating.
Both beds of transplanted strawberry plants are doing well. I extended one of the beds by a couple of feet, so I have room for two or three more plants. Luckily I have a few growing in a pot, so they can be moved out to the garden now. I also have this one row of Provider bush beans left. I've decided to always plant just single rows of bush beans in the future, as they are so much easier to pick than the wide rows I usually plant. The older I get, the more I lean toward "easy".
The old boards from the strawberry bed were removed, cut down and rebuilt. I had planned on planting the raspberries there, but now I've changed my mind. My tomatoes never get enough sunshine, and the new bed is in the sunniest area of the garden. I've decided to plant them there next year, as well as in another 8' bed that will be built next to it. The raspberries can be move behind the shed, where there will still be room to keep them tilled along both sides of the bed. That means I'll have to pot up the raspberry canes and try to keep them alive until they can be planted, as they'll be going where the fall carrots are now planted. Or a few fall carrots will have to be sacrificed.
Annie got into the carrot bed yesterday and removed quite a few anyway. She also stepped all over the tiny onion plants. She's not a very good garden dog. Otto behaved himself while roaming the garden....until he pooped. Dog poop is NOT allowed in the veggie garden, so both dogs got banished and the gate was shut. I don't know if there is any hope that the snap peas will give me a meal. So far I've only seen one blossom, and since the wind blew the vines all over,I can't even find that now. Less than a month to go until our first expected frost.
Three of the five broccoli plants were pulled. They were underperformers, as far as side shoots go, and Mr. Granny cannot be bribed into eating any more broccoli this year. These remaining two plants will provide more than enough for my dining pleasure.
I tried to carefully cut out the extra cantaloupe vines, and not disturb the big almost ripe melon and two smaller green melons that were left. Of course I snipped the wrong vine. The one that went to the big melon. It's still sitting out in the garden, but I have a feeling it will never ripen enough to be eaten (it looks attached, it isn't). Bah. Humbug.
The fall corn has been harvested and the stalks pulled and removed from the garden. I salvaged what I could of the pitifully small ears, half eaten by ear worms, and it was just enough to make a big pot of fresh corn chowder. I used the last of my Red Norland potatoes, and several of the leeks that I dug out yesterday. Too many of the leeks were going to seed, so I decided to dig them all before they were too woody to use.
Oh, my, they do make the best tasting soup! I think I'll slice the remaining leeks and freeze them for future batches of soup.
My fall cucumbers were doing so well after I sprayed them with the milk/soda solution, but two cool days of drizzly weather and the powdery mildew returned with a vengeance. I've sprayed them the past two days, but I don't think there has been any improvement. I'll keep trying for a bit, because I'm getting some really nice cucumbers from them.
I'll spend the next couple of days dismantling the raspberry bed and rebuilding it (for the tomatoes) in a new location. I hope I can salvage enough canes to plant a new 12' row. Speaking of raspberries, these are a one crop, summer bearing variety. But one plant didn't know that, and it blossomed and is forming berries! I'll be leaving it alone to see if I actually get ripe fruit from it.
The north garden, looking east.
The north garden, looking west. It looks quite bare with the corn, squash and leeks all removed.
The east garden. The peppers are still growing and producing.
Sorry about your cantaloupe. I hate it when I do things like that. In the same boat as you with the snap peas. You are getting a great start to your fall duties. Precious Annie and Otto!!!!!! NancyReplyDelete
Nancy, let's just say precious Annie thought she was helping with the fall cleanup of the garden beds, and Otto was helping with the fertilizing. ;-)Delete
I love reading your blog. It always makes me feel good about working in our garden to produce healthy food. You are so kind to give to a food bank-what a great way to share!:-) Growing food is a lot of work , but you always make it look too easy---but I know it is not! robbie:-)ReplyDelete
Awww, thank you, Robbie.Delete
Oh, and the "dog poop not allowed in veggie garden" made me laugh..I have 3 rescue dogs...and I do understand that problem-lolReplyDelete
LOL, it's dangerous out in the back yard, but that's what shovels are made for!Delete
Too bad about the cantaloupe :-( but at least the garden looks all clean and ready for fall. You do such a great job organizing it. I'm feeling inspired! Maybe this weekend I'll tackle mine, and I'll be moving things around, too, trying to avoid the neighbor's bamboo. So many things to do in the garden, never ending really. Sometimes I'm almost glad for frost! Chowder looks yummy, Granny. I want some!ReplyDelete
Come on over, Mrs. R.! There are about 10 servings of chowder in the fridge, waiting to be eaten or frozen. The garden is about halfway there. I still have manure to spread, and then I can just wait for a freeze before I have to tackle more removals.Delete
That Fields of Grace sounds like a terrific organization. I like the idea of being able to put excess produce to good use. I'm sure you'll be keeping them plenty supplied in the coming years. Good deal!ReplyDelete
Yes, Sue, it's too bad I didn't know about them earlier. There was a big article in our paper last week, with an email address, so I saved it. Good thing, 'cause I sure had a ton of beans! At least I could provide at least four families with some fresh, organic produce.Delete
The tidiness of your garden, and your disciplined approach to the various tasks really appeals to me! Ths is how I like to work. Shame about snipping the wrong melon vine! I hope the big melon ripens OK for you.ReplyDelete
Mark, I never like the chores to get ahead of me. If I allowed the garden to get messy or weedy, I'd likely never keep up with it. I hope the melon ripens, too! I could kick myself....I was being so careful!Delete
I thought about doing the same thing with my melon patch. I was waiting for just one melon to ripen before ripping it out. But I knew I couldn't follow the vine well enough so I left them all in. Now I just hope my butternuts will ripen. The vines are almost dead, but some are far from ripe. At least they have most of their color. I think they will all get there over time, but I've got my fingers crossed.ReplyDelete
Oh, Daphne, I should have just stayed out of the melons, but I'm anxious to get that second bed built and it will go right through the melon patch! I figured I could work around that melon. Now I don't have to worry about it :-(Delete
Great pictures today! I am a real map and direction oriented person, so your pictures and directions help me visualize your beautiful garden.ReplyDelete
Incredible post! Really informative. I am about to follow you, maybe you could head voer to my blog and follow me too?ReplyDelete
PS- Love the design of your blog!!
Hurry up carrots! LOL! I think that melon may ripen for you. I have had some that look similar at the end of the growing season ripen even though the plant itself succumbed to mildew and the vine looked dead. it wasn't as sweet as the summer ripened melon, but it was still good.ReplyDelete
Bradie has figured out how to "nose" the garden gate and make her way in. She only does this when I am working in the garden. Usually she just lays down in the grassy paths as I work, but she walked through my fall kale bed the other day trampling a few plants.
I hope you're right about the melon, Rachel. I'm leaving it out in the sun, but I wonder if it wouldn't ripen faster in the house now that night temps are getting lower.Delete
I have gates to keep the dogs out, but I really didn't think there was anything left they could damage. I didn't even think about Annie's love of carrots. She has dug her own in the past, too. She didn't really do as much damage as I did yesterday, trying to get a heavy wheelbarrow full of manure through the garden. I had to push it through some of the freshly composted beds, and I compacted the soil where I didn't want compacted soil!
Your garden is still looking very productive. Your soup looks tasty, I think I'll make some leak and potato soup this week. I will also have to freeze many of my leeks for winter soups. I'm sorry about your melon it looked like it was coming along nicely. I've never tried melons (maybe next year).ReplyDelete
Bacon, the melon did get ripe. I cut it open this morning, and had a big slice for breakfast! It wasn't as sweet as earlier ones, but at least it's edible.Delete
I had the girls start cleaning up the tomato gardens today. Without any rain this year they looked quite horrible even though they produced more than enough to fill our deep freeze and give away a bunch and still have a lot for the chickens and compost.ReplyDelete
Your gardens look so pretty and clean! Mine, not so much.
Langela, I'm determined to have the entire garden cleaned up and ready for spring planting before the weather turns cold. I'm usually doing a lot of cleanup and prep early in the spring...I want to have it all ready to go in 2014! Mr. Granny even complimented on how nice the garden looks for this time of year. Mind you, he didn't offer to help!Delete
You said you lean more toward practical than pretty in the garden, but I think it looks beautiful! Mine is feeling very cluttered lately. Hoping when the walkways get mulched, it will look a little more organized.ReplyDelete
Aww, thank you, Jen. Mine gets pretty cluttered when the squash vines get out of control. It looks so bare now that they are gone!Delete