Putting the garden to bed

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Mt. Plantmore

Today we worked on putting the garden to bed.  It was not in great shape this year what with all the rain.  The weeds had really gotten out of hand, but bonus for us, more rain this week meant the conditions were perfect for pulling weeds and pickin’ stones, then turning the beds over with the new mini-tiller.

First, I harvested the last of the peppers.  The cool weather really slowed them down, but by the end of the season they were finally producing.  They did appreciate the increased moisture, they just needed warmer temps, too.

Once I picked my peppers, it was on to serious weed and IMG_4751plant pulling.  We amassed quite a pile.  This will form the beginnings of a new compost area we are planning.  We need to move the compost from its current location to make room for extending the roof of the garden shed to provide shelter for the lawn tractor.  The new bins will be on the far side of the shed, a bit closer to the vegetable garden.

Once the plants and weeds were pulled, we gave the mini-tiller a workout.  I am totally impressed.  The little Honda engine turns over easily, is quiet, and turned over all the beds in far less time than we could have with the broadfork.  In less than 2 hours, we had turned over the majority of the beds.  Now they are ready for a good load a manure and/or compost worked in.

IMG_4756We had some help from the girls –they stood guard by the fence and snapped up any bug or worm that surfaced.  We hope soon we’ll be moving them to a new area for the winter, and setting up the Hendome for free-range space during the winter snows.

I hope we will be planting garlic soon.  I have some gypsum to add to the garlic beds, and more compost.  Once planted, the garlic will get a deep cover of mulch.  With the fall always challenging for us, we have never planted garlic before, so I’m looking forward to trying it.  The plan is to put it in the corners, where it is a challenge working the garden.  Once planted and mulched, I hope it will be a low maintenance crop.

My leeks are beautiful.  I am hoping they will hold up well in the cold with a deep bed of mulch, but just in case, IIMG_4764 may saute some in butter and freeze.  I am hoping some mowed leaves will work for this, held in place with some fencing. Behind the leeks, just in front of the hoophouse are the zinnias and pole beans still to be cleared out, and to the left of that, parsley with Brussels sprouts and other brassicas.

The garden looks great, all tilled and ready for final winter preparations.  It should be much easier now to get going in the spring.  Here’s hoping!

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5 Responses to “Putting the garden to bed”

  1. Mangochild Says:

    My garden is a mess, sadly. As you said, the weather this year did not help matters… I’ve harvested the last eggplant and peppers, so those should be pulled. The okra finished long ago, but I’ve been to lazy to pull them… You’ve done a great job… I need to follow your example!

  2. Diana Says:

    Did you find that the tiller went deep enough for you? I’m interested in getting one, but it just didn’t look like it really got down deep. Could you email me and tell me?

    Thanks! I love reading your blog and living vicariously through you; we just got our house and won’t be able to garden for another year or so (too many trees to cut down first).

    • Ali Says:

      Diana, for my purposes, the tiller went deep enough, but I am using it in well-worked soil, and we did have to make several passes to get as deep as I wanted. For breaking new ground, I think it would take a bit of working. We can work the ground with our broadfork and then use the tiller to break up the clumps and work in compost, and for that purpose, it will be great. And a whole lot cheaper than a big tiller.

      Congrats on your new home!

  3. Hafiz Says:

    what no snow yet on the ground: ) ? kiddin. Did you plant the gralic yet? I need some advice. My last year’s e-bay garlic seeds did Nada…nothing. I am going to try again this year.

    Thanks for the pointer on black currants. You might be right. The thing is the leaves look like grapes. Do currants have leaves that look like grapes? I am so lost : ).

    • Ali Says:

      You laugh, we had snow showers predicted, and yes, some parts of Maine got snow.

      Garlic planting now posted. Anything for a fellow farmer!

      As for blackcurrant leaves, I think they look quite a bit like grape leaves, come to think of it. 3 lobes, deeply cut, defined veining… Surely somebody in the area can ID them. If so, you are lucky!

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