The calendar may say it's still the fall but when I look out the window, I'm seeing a very different story.
This doesn't look like November to me...
Bad days (weather wise) far outnumbered good days and I soon realized that I had to prioritize and resign myself to the fact that some things on my list would have to wait until the spring.
What Got Done
1. Planting the Garlic - This high priority task was finally done last week & I wrote about both this years harvest and the new planting HERE. The Golden shallots went into the ground at the same time. I cut down on the number that I sow (by half) as the over 7 lbs. of Golden shallots I harvested this year is just a 'tad' too much for our needs, especially as I also grow a couple of varieties from seed. This means that I'll have more space in the bed for other alliums, such as green onions.
Only 2 rows of shallots going in this year
2. Harvesting the Carrots - This is the first year that harvesting carrots was a two step process.
|Step One: Shovel the bed 🙄|
Step 2: Pray that the soil was still soft (which it was)
and the carrots were not frozen (which they weren't) and pull them all up
The ferns are too tough to go directly into the compost so I piled them up beside the mulch and I'll be shredding them come spring. There were a ton of weeds and encroaching grass in the asparagus beds so I did do a rudimentary weeding as I figured that this may make my job just a bit easier come spring.
The last step was to cover the beds with straw:
4. Covering the Garlic & Strawberry Beds with Straw - Having lugged out the straw for the asparagus beds, I also got the garlic and strawberry beds covered.
The dolly came in really handy when
lugging the bale to the top of the hill
5. Bringing In the Figs - The fig trees were a dismal failure this year with zero harvest, even after repotting them in the spring into larger, light coloured pots (they were previously in black pots that I felt may have been overheating during our summer heat waves). At this point, I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or perhaps this generic, no-name variety is simply finicky and not that great a producer. One thing I did know was that I didn't really feel like lugging them down into the basement cold cellar like I normally do.
Dolly to the rescue once again
6. Planting More Bulbs. Ok, this was not on the priority list - in fact, once I realized that I would have to cut down on my list dramatically in order to get the essentials done, planting bulbs went firmly on the "to do next year" list....until I saw some packets of mixed crocus bulbs on sale for just over $2 at a local hardware store. Well, that's one bargain I couldn't resist so I grabbed a couple of packets - 40 bulbs in total - and spent less than 20 minutes getting them into the ground. I haven't had crocuses since my first garden over 20 years ago - I'm so excited to see them come up in the spring!
What Still Needs to be Done
Thankfully there is only one thing on this list: Cleaning/disinfecting all my seed starting equipment, including all the pots, cell packs & trays.
This task is always at the top of my "procrastination" list. Each year I say that I'll get to it earlier in the season, while the temperatures are still mild, but it always ends up being one of the last things I do. Even though most of the cleaning is done in the relative comfort of the garage, I do need to give everything a good spray in the driveway to remove any soil before they get their disinfecting soak. I'm looking at the long range forecast and see one day coming up that's supposed to be 6C (43F) so I'll be holding off until then. Not exactly balmy but at least the water won't freeze as I'm spraying!
What Can Wait Until Spring
There were a few things that I had really hoped to get accomplished this year, but these were further down on the priority list so they have been pushed to next year.
1. Spreading mulch on the hilltop & west border area. The mulch was moved to both these areas when I had the front walkway done but I was only able to make a start on the hilltop. Then the sub zero temps hit and I decided that was it for the season.
Mulch pile under a blanket of snow on the hilltop
(beside the cut down asparagus ferns which need to be shredded next spring)
3. Plant more bulbs...as in more tulips, more daffodils, ornamental alliums, plus, plus, plus. And transplant some overcrowded iris & a bunch of tulips that are in a spot that is much too shady.
4. Plant a few more shrubs & trees in the west border. I'm creating a living "fence" and about 3/4 of the woody plant material was put in last fall. As we all know, shrubs and trees take a few years to establish and size up so the sooner I get the rest of them in the ground, the better.
So those are the main items that, up until early September, I had been optimistic about getting to by the end of the season, but didn't. Is this a surprise? Not really. Each year I think I'll do much more than I actually end up doing. For some reason, my brain always tells me that I'll have more time and/or things will be "easier" to do and fit into my everyday life in the "future". Our perception of time is funny like that, isn't it?