My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Garden Clean Up

This weekend was a big garden clean up weekend.  We had to get the raised beds cleaned up, veggies pulled out, and everything prepared for the hard freeze that's coming this week.  For me, fall garden chores are more urgent than Spring garden chores.  Why?  I know in Spring that no matter when I start seedlings or seeds that they'll start growing when they feel like it, so there's no sense of urgency to get anything done.  I know that un-staked tomato plants will still produce tomatoes (though they will make a huge unruly mess, more on this in another post), so there's no rush.

This year, cucumbers started from seedlings and extra seeds (that were four or five years old) that Alycia threw in the ground both started producing at the same time.  Zucchini, pumpkins, and watermelons all languished in the ground for weeks before starting to grow.  The message from Mother Nature?  You can bust your butt and get things planted right after the last frost, coddle seedlings with little mini-greenhouses, or casually throw seeds in the ground, everything will grow when it's darn good and ready. 

Fall chores spurn me to action, the hard frost hangs over my head knowing that it'll turn those "just-starting-to-turn-pink" tomatoes into frost mangled mush if I don't get them inside where they might have a chance to ripen.  And experience has taught me that potatoes and onions are much easier to harvest from ground that isn't frozen.  This should be intuitive, but sometimes I need to learn things the hard way.
Alycia snipped and pulled the remaining pepper plants.  We're hoping that, like the tomatoes, we can store the peppers in a cool dry place and they'll ripen a bit more.  If not, they're still tasty even though they might be a bit green.
We harvested onions out of this raised bed as well.  The only hard part was removing the marigolds.  Even though they were still full of blooms, they were unlikely to survive the mid-20's that were forecast for a low temp Tuesday night and Wednesday night.  It's also easier to remove everything in the raised bed at once so I can cover it with a thick layer of grass clippings, shredded leaves, and mulch for overwintering.
Sad, empty raised bed.  'Till next year.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Now scurry on over here and get this disaster of ours cleaned up too, ok?

You're smart to do this now, I'll be thinking of you when I'm pulling out all my ratty stuff when snow flurries are flying.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to bring in the gnomes!
-Bill