The fall garden looks a bit bereft. It is important to tidy up and remove dead plant material. Under the floating row cover tunnel, plants are still green and growing. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
Fall herb garden shot--lots of garden cleanup yet to do. Here Saint Fiacre sits amidst the dried chive stems, which need to be cut back and composted.Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
Looking in the grow tunnel, the cole crops, hardy greens and lettuces are still green and are welcome crops for harvest after the growing season has just about finished.Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
While many folks were out experiencing “Black Friday”–I spent time in the out-of-doors working in the garden, stacking firewood, hanging the laundry out and doing chores with family–and enjoying a beautiful day in nature. The next two days are great root moon planting days so if you haven’t planted your garlic, now is a good time to do it! We just celebrated the full Beaver Moon, so now we are in the 3rd Quarter. I’ve been meaning to get the garlic in for the past few weeks and finally, I’ll plant it tomorrow.
Today, was a garden clean up day. I cut the twine from the stakes holding the chile pepper plants and the castor bean stems and removed all of the stakes and stacked them in the shed. I removed dead plant material–most of which perished with the first frost a few weeks ago–chile pepper plants, basil, marigolds, nasturtium and cucumber vines and more. Piled that on a tarp and dragged it down into our woods where we pile garden brush and prunings–the piles of branches and small wood provide good shelter for small animals. On the way past the bamboo grove headed for the woods, the nesting birds chatter and scold and a few give their warning calls that an intruder is nearby. I delight that a large number and variety of birds settle somewhat noisily into the bamboo every evening before dusk with chirps and singsong performing a sort of aviary evensong.
Surprisingly, the unprotected calendulas and various kales in the garden are still green and the pot marigolds are even flowering occasionally and there are some dandelion greens and the nettles to harvest. We still have lettuce, cilantro, kales, chard, collards, small cabbage and cauliflower heads, kohlrabi, mustard greens and calendulas under the floating row cover, which we are harvesting regularly.
I spread some aged chicken manure on the row where the garlic will be planted tomorrow. Generally I try to get the garlic planted at the end of October/beginning of November. Especially before cold temps arrive and the earth freezes. With this lovely warm spell in Maryland, (it was in the 60s today!) I am going to get it planted. Besides the humans, the birds and squirrels are enjoying the weather. I take pleasure in the interruptions by the wildlife–the pausing to watch a squirrel run by with a big black walnut, the crunch and rustle of leaves as white-tails bound into the woods, or to observe the majestic Canada geese fly over in their V-formation.
Wood chores have been keeping all of the family members busy. I don’t chain saw or use the splitter, however I do load the wheelbarrow and unload it with countless loads of wood. While it makes a body tired, these tasks warm the body as we work, gets our blood flowing and keeps us limber. There is a long stack of firewood out in the yard and then there is some stacked on the backporch, which is ready to burn. The wren gives us what-for when we stack on the porch and intrude upon her domain for too long.
The sun sure is setting earlier these days. There is still more tidying up to be done in the garden. The tomato cages all need to be removed and the vines pulled up. Although, I harvested most of the annual herbs and partially cut back the perennials to dry, the herb garden needs to be cleaned up and pruned of dead stems.
The tools are back in the shop and the woodpiles are covered since rain is in the forecast. All the better to get the garlic in first thing in the morning. I’ll take a green day in the garden anytime over a day in the shopping mall!
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