Putting the garden to bed (Black Thumb of Death Gardening)
Edit: I have imported this from my The Black Thumb of Death Gardening Blog to my regular blog...
It was time to put the garden beds to rest for the winter. The photos were taken a few weeks ago before I got 3 more bales of straw and really covered them.
The main garden beds were moved to have wider rows to accommodate the big wheelbarrow Himself got me. I used a combination of old straw and pine needles at first. Depending on what I find when we get back home, I will take new photos of the few straw I laid down over all the beds and the dirt so it stays put, plus prevents grass and weeds from appearing next year. It is hard to see the new area I set up where the watermelon bed was, clear at the opposite end.
The beds to the right are out on the huge meadow. The squash bed is hard to see, the pile of brownish stuff in front of the tree stumps. I did not take photos of the last bed behind the house.
The bed to the left holds our remaining leeks, green onions and garlic. behind the leeks, radishes are hidden. Whether they survive the frosts under their blanket of straw is up in the air. Oh...There are a couple of onions tucked in with the garlic and green onions to the left. I hope.
Surprise! The strawberries are blooming and forming tiny strawberries! They are covered in straw now. I cannot imagine the blooms or strawberries surviving the hard frosts and the coming snows. I had filled the large tub halfway with dirt, then gently dug up the strawberry bed, dirt and all, and planted them all down in the tub for the winter. They will go to the area at the end where the watermelon went this year.
The various berry bushes are "coloring" for the Fall. I need to look up what needs to be done for the winter. They should produce berries next year.
I fell over the retaining wall the day I took these photos. I stepped out onto the wood part in my high-top tennis shoes. The wood was slippery and the smooth soles were a bad match. Oof. I am very glad of my homemade salve. It cleared up the bruising twice as fast if I did not use anything on it at all.
I have learned a lot this year. Raised beds, no matter how much they are sneered at, are perfect for our area. You can warm the soil much easier and they use less water, being "contained", than conventional beds. I must contain the rest of the beds in some way next year. We do not live in a drought area, but we do still conserve as much as we can.
Next year, I will fertilize and turn the dirt in March and cover the beds with white plastic to warm the soil. I plan on planting by April. Our last frost date is in June, but it is not long enough for even some of the short growing season plants. Being covered, you can start at a better time. I will also avoid a lot of pests by having the plants well-established before the normal planting times up here. I am planting a lot more of everything. We enjoyed all the fresh food we produced and want to be able to can or dehydrate much more next year. So many commercial agriculture areas were decimated by drought, Monsanto's lies of pest and weed resistance on top of it all, so food will be scarce next year, especially since most of what is being produced is being shipped to China. Stock up on what you can when you can, especially heirloom and organic seeds. Be prepared. It is better to be prepared and ahead of the game instead of stuck with your pants down, no?
Our pest losses were small, even with the masses of earwigs and mormon crickets we had to fight. Many plants I thought we were going to lose rebounded and produced well. The first frosts were more deadly than the pests! We are looking for the plastic and a way to cheaply throw up hoop covers when needed to get the most out of the garden next year. I loved working in the garden and I am already planning out next year's...without trying to salivate too much.