A Soggy Mid-November Update
Fall weather is finally settling in and I have been busy cleaning up the beds, putting away trellises, mulching paths and doing the myriad of tasks that close out the season. These soggy photos were taken yesterday & today, in between bouts of rain & gusty winds - you'll have to excuse the fuzzy quality.
All of the hilltop beds are tucked in for the winter. I gave each of them a topping of compost but there are still a couple missing their sprinkling of grass. I don’t like to leave the soil bare over the winter and grass stays put much better than straw, which tends to blow around.
The hilltop mulching is almost finished – I have a stack of cardboard ready to be laid down and one more load of mulch sitting in the trailer:
|For mulching the paths between the raised beds I use mulch |
that is available for free from the municipality; it's not the prettiest of stuff,
but it does the job and the price is right
All of the hilltop beds that held annual veg are now empty except for two - these were planted up with garlic and shallots on October 26. I’ll give more details on this planting in my end of season review.
The asparagus ferns are finally turning colour & they are absolutely gorgeous – the yellow is so bright it almost glows:
The peppermint & chocolate mint were repotted into the large metal bin that held the sweet potatoes this year. The chocolate mint didn’t survive our last winter so I had to purchase a new plant and the peppermint just barely made it. I’m hoping that placing them in this larger container and covering them with straw (which I intend to do as soon as the soil freezes) gives me better results.
|Transplanted peppermint & chocolate mint|
A little worse for wear after several frosts and a couple of freezes
Do you see the green on the left side of the above photo, just in front of the yellow asparagus ferns? I forgot to take a photo but that's self-seeded chamomile. Roman chamomile is an annual, so these will not survive our winter – will that be it or will there be a sea of green come spring?
I’m leaving the straw bales in place over the winter. Since they really didn't start to decompose and give me some good growth until later in the summer, I’m hoping that they are stable enough to last another season.
|Straw Bales - These will be kept in place until next season|
& hopefully still be in good enough shape to use again
I cut back the cilantro a few weeks ago, but left the plants in place on the off chance that they would give me another small cutting – and they have done quite well despite a few sub zero nights. The other day they were a bit droopy with frost, but they perked up once the temperatures rose:
Cilantro together with bunching onions
that are leaning over due to the recent winds
Nebuka Perennial Bunching Onions
Also in this bed are the surviving spinach seedlings – Giant Winter Viroflex – which I am also testing to see if they will overwinter and give me an early spring harvest.
Giant Winter Viroflex Seedlings
The broccoli is still going – I was about to pull it up a couple of weeks ago, but the local forecast predicted relatively good weather so I figured I would leave it to see if I could get another round of side shoots, small as they were likely to be. And my patience has been rewarded:
|Broccoli Side Shoots|
|Mizuna & tatsoi|
And lastly, another tree issue has become apparent. We have a beautiful spruce next to our shed. And it’s big....too big:
This guy is probably around 30' tall
I do hate cutting down trees, especially spruce trees – they are one of my favourite evergreens. We have a few spruce in our front yard (one as big as this one!) and I'm hoping to plant one or two more to make up for losing this one. Beside the shed, we still need some sort of screening so we'll likely plant either a shrub or a much smaller tree.
Since we will already be having someone come in for the spruce, we've also been looking at other potential tree issues that can be dealt with at the same time. There are a couple of 20+ year old cedars that are much too close to the house, for instance. I have been procrastinating on cutting them down for a few years:
|This cedar has essentially grown into the side of the house -|
it looks like it's taking a bite out of the roof ;)
We are about 2 weeks away from the official end of the season. I truly love my garden, but it’s been an exceptionally busy year. Did I mention how much I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a break over the winter? Judging by all of the bloggers echoing this same sentiment, I'm definitely not alone on that one.
Till next time…
Well, that photo certainly LOOKS November-y!ReplyDelete
Frankly, I love this time of year---it's all about reconnecting with my house and hunkering in and getting comfortable and rested up. I got totally screwed out of my fall chores this year, but am so grateful for dear hubby doing it for me. I love the whole process of covering the beds with manure and grass/leaves. I feel like I'm "tucking in" my precious worms for the cold season ahead.
Happy Fall, Margaret. Time to get that soup pot simmering.............
Oh, I couldn't agree with you more, Sue - it feels wonderful each time I put one of the beds "to bed". Not to mention the satisfaction of having a freezer/cold cellar full of delicious fruits & veg. I still have some canning to do, but after that it will be about enjoying the fruits (and veg!) of my labours. And the catalogues are probably going to start coming in soon...one of my favourite fall/winter pasttimes...browsing seed catalogues by a roaring fire...need I say more? I saw some "reading" socks at a local shop recently - I'm thinking about knitting myself a pair as that would definitely complete the picture :)Delete
I hope you are feeling better now. Seems like bronchitis is running rampant this year...the daughter of a friend of ours also had it earlier this month. Take good care of yourself and have a wonderful (and tasty, by the sounds of it) weekend!
I would be really surprised if you don't have chamomile popping up all over the place next spring. The one bed where I let it go to seed last year still has it sprouting everywhere, even after digging it out numerous times and turning the soil a few times. It has nearly reached the status of "weed".ReplyDelete
You still have quite a bit left to harvest. That mizuna and tatsoi are impressive and I bet they will be extra tasty after going through a few frosty nights.
It is sad to have to remove some healthy mature trees. I totally understand your dilemma, I've been there too. We had a house years ago that was surrounded by big Deodora cedars and when they started to drop really big limbs which thankfully missed the house they had to go.
Oh boy, Daphne warned me about that when I originally planted it. Well, at least I know what to expect and now it will be a matter of trying to keep ahead of it in the spring. I do want to keep growing it, so I'll have to find an out of the way spot to grow it - somewhere where I don't mind it self-seeding like a madman. Easier said than done, I think.Delete
I love trees - we actually planted several baby spruce when we first moved into this house, although sadly only one survived. It's hard having to get rid of beautiful, mature trees, considering how long they take to get to that stage. But better that then having them damage a structure or, even worse, injuring someone. I think that making the initial decision was the toughest part...now it's just a matter of following through and trying not to think too much about what we will be losing.
I think once we realise the season's over it's good to get everything put to bed for the winter. A bit of extra care at this time of year makes for a much easier spring, I never get round to doing everything I should though so I usually end up starting the new year playing catch up.ReplyDelete
So true - I would love to start spring with everything done but usually a few things fall through the cracks. I'm finding it easier to get more done as the kids get older so maybe one of these years, I'll actually be able to do that.Delete
It looks like you will be all set when next spring comes to get right to it! Nice that you are still harvesting a few things. What will you do with your time once the garden season is done? NancyReplyDelete
Oh boy, there certainly is no shortage of things to do, that's for sure - top of the list are a few pieces of furniture that have been sitting in the garage for months, waiting to be refinished and the unfinished area of my basement is a veritable obstacle course right now. This seems to happen every year and it's such a great feeling when I finally have some time to get it all sorted out & everything is back in order. And I'll be squeezing in a lot more knitting too!Delete
Mizuna and tatsoi must be amazingly hardy, they look so lush and vibrant. And your broccoli has done amazingly well this year. I'm really hoping my kohlrabi has time to bulb up too, although the turnips are doing amazing.ReplyDelete
It's really too bad those big trees are so close to your house.
This is the first time I've grown either mizuna or tatsoi and am really impressed by how well they did this fall - I'll definitely be keeping them on the fall sowing list. Turnips are such fast growers, aren't they? I couldn't keep up with them this year and am hoping to do a bit of succession sowing to spread out the harvest next time.Delete
I know that our winters are less severe than yours, but these days I make a conscious effort NOT to end the growing-season, but to keep some things going throughout the Winter.. I wish I had a polytunnel - that would help a lot! I have a problem tree too - though the main problem is it belongs to a neighbour! It overhangs part of my garden (though fortunately it doesn't block much light), and its roots spread out well into my property. I wish the neighbour would cut it down.ReplyDelete
Oh, you are not alone in having neighbor tree problems and the roots can travel much further than one would think. Many trees are surprisingly shallow rooted & I've heard of some people dealing with this by digging down about 18" or so and placing a physical barrier - I think it's called a root barrier or something along those lines - along the edge of their garden too keep the roots out of it. Something to consider if those roots get to be a big problem (like my willow was!).Delete
It is good to see your broccoli is making side shoots (unlike mine)! I'm a fan of mulch over cardboard too. I eventually get a few weeds but the cardboard really seems to help smother them. Your mizuna and tatsoi look lovely too. I think you have grown some of the largest tatsoi I have ever seen! And I'm with Michelle - I bet you have lots of chamomile, which to me would not be a bad problem at all.ReplyDelete
The broccoli was definitely one of the few successes in the garden this year - I can't believe how much I harvested from only 7 plants! I don't know what the story is with the tatsoi - my spring planted ones were pretty normal in size. I guess they must like the fall weather. And hopefully I'll have the time to take advantage of whatever chamomile comes up next spring - I was just too busy to keep up with the harvest this year (which explains all the self-seeding!)....I see a lot of tea in my future :)Delete
In my experience most perennial onions with Japanese names grow huge and thick stems. Especially after first year. I have an Ishikura plant that is in its second year and is about the thickness of my wrist! Tastes awfully soapy. I have two perennial onion clumps that have stems the size of normal spring onions - a no name welsh onion and a red welsh onion. I really like those.ReplyDelete
I read about Welsh onions earlier this year from somewhere and they do sound promising and obviously you have had a good experience with them - I'm thinking that I'll give them a try at some point.Delete
Those broccoli heads look really good. Are haskaps like our honey berries?ReplyDelete
Yes, the haskaps are honey berries - I've never tried them but they sound tasty. I haven't heard that many people having success growing them, but every garden is different, so you never know...fingers are crossed at this point that they just make it through the winter!Delete