While most people consider the start of the season to be the busiest time in the garden, that's not necessarily so, especially in my case. With final harvests, beds to clear, equipment to clean, pots to empty, etc., etc., the end of the season is just as busy (sometimes more so!). The list is seemingly never-ending.
While the other winter squash I harvested this fall are curing by a sunny window,
these Delicata are long gone (and delicious they were!)
So what has kept me occupied this past month? Let me give you a rundown of what's been accomplished in (and out) of the garden since the beginning of October:
- Empty & clean out all pots that contained annuals - about 20 or so of them. All of my pots, with the exception of one large pot by the front entrance, are ceramic so concerns over cracking etc. require that I deal with this as soon as the weather cools down.
- Plant over 400 bulbs in the front garden & west border....then go over those same areas the next day with a sprinkling of Acti-Sol after I saw a dang squirrel digging around 😣
I tossed a variety of bulbs in the bowl before planting -
hopefully this will produce the "natural" planting I'm hoping for.
- Plant the scilla and muscari bulbs that I spoke about in my last post into 2 pots that are now in the cold cellar, waiting to come out at the first sign of spring.
- Dig up dahlia tubers (did this only yesterday) & pack in peat moss to store in the cold cellar over winter.
- Apply black plastic to the final area beside the walkway (where I'm trying to eliminate the invasive periwinkle & zebra grass) and top with mulch (so that neither I nor our visitors are staring at a swath of black plastic!).
- Plant 12 perennials that I recently received from Bloomin' Easy (thank you Kevin!) to test out in the garden - so excited about these, especially the yet-to-be-released Thunderbolt Box Honeysuckle that I saw at the GardenComm conference in Salt Lake City.
At the GardenComm expo, I was completely captivated by the
chartreuse colour & 'waterfall' nature of the Bloomin' Easy 'Thunderbolt' Box Honeysuckle.
With the indoor lighting, my photo really doesn't do it justice.
- Plant a baby blue spruce - it's only 2' tall - that I saw on sale at a big box store & simply could not resist.
- Take down & store conduit cucumber & tomato trellises.
- Remove, drain & store all irrigation equipment, which often includes installing a few new hooks as I seem to add an extra hose or two each year.
- Blow out all of the irrigation lines in the 3 veg areas plus the new lines in the west ornamental border
- Clean up all 18 veg beds, removing any weeds, etc.
- Add compost to all the beds. While I normally do this in the spring, I had a utility trailer full of compost to empty and it was just enough for the veg beds. I'm thinking that this should be a fall task from now on as then the beds will all be ready to go come spring.
- Cover the 2 rose bushes ('At Last' and 'Crown Princess Margareta') with straw for winter protection
Hoping for an even better year in 2020 for this David Austin rose
(Crown Princess Margareta) as it will be in it's 3rd year.
- Harvest & tally the potatoes - a record breaking harvest this year, at 75 lbs of potatoes harvested from the 8'x4' bed!
- Cut back asparagus, weed the 3 beds & top with straw for the winter. While I normally do this later in the season, I really don't enjoy this task when temperatures are below zero, so this will be a test to see if doing this in late fall has a negative impact on the plants.
- Trim, tally and store onions, garlic and shallots that have been drying in the garage for the past couple of months.
This was also the best Golden shallot season ever
with a larger overall harvest & bigger bulbs
- Prep & plant the garlic bed, then top with straw.
- Top the strawberry bed with straw.
- Take cuttings of the rosemary that I had in one of the beds & pot them up - hopefully I'll be able to get those through the winter.
- Ditto the coleus - 2 of the 6 varieties I had did not root well, but the other 4 are doing great.
- Clean and disinfect all cell packs, pots, trays and other seed starting equipment so that it's ready for next season.
After a dismal year for strawberries in 2018, this year was a resounding success.
I actually got everything cleaned/disinfected
before our first snowfall...a first!
- Clean out & reorganize the rabbit shed (which is what we call the large shed that the previous owners built that used to house...you guessed it...rabbits!). We use this shed primarily for storing things such as peat moss, straw and firewood although it can sometimes become a bit of a catch-all. Recently, a friend of ours moved and gave us a full cubic yard of firewood, hence the re-organizing.
- Clean out & re-organize the garden shed so that it's ready to go for next year - this is usually a twice per season task as it generally gets to be a right mess by June/July and then again by the end of the season.
- Clean out & re-organize the garage - same reason as the garden shed.
Now for the list of what I didn't do:
- Clean up the ornamental beds (i.e. nothing is cut back)….which is as it should be! There has been a party goin' on over the past month in the ornamental borders, including just outside our family room window.
Our kitty cat, Blossom, is glued to the window most days....
- Ummmm…..can't think of anything else.
Say what? I was able to accomplish practically everything that I had intended...for once. Hurray!
It was a very productive month, but I'm ready (REALLY ready) for a break.
This year, I'm going to be taking a bit of a hiatus over the winter months, spending more quality time with my family & doing other things that bring me joy.
My morning routine lately....
I may continue to post on Instagram every once in a while over the winter...or I may not. I'm still undecided on that bit. I've cut down significantly on my social media usage over the past month, simply because I was so busy with garden cleanup, and I quite enjoyed the mental break.
Wishing every single one of my bloggy friends, near and far, a wonderful winter season and we will see you all in the spring! 💚💚💚💚