Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autumn Puttering

Even though the season is over, and the garden is put away, there is still puttering to be done. We've washed the bench cushions and stored them away. Tidied up the shed. Removed the freezable chemicals and put them in the cellar. And cut new rings of woven wire to protect the shrubs from the deer.

We also put tree tubes around the smaller trees to protect them from rabbits, but not before the young four point buck scraped a couple of them up. So we put pruning patch on the worst areas, and put the tubes over. We also preemptively staked the mulberry trees which will not have the good sense to lose their leaves before the first snowfall. These trees really take a beating. They are obviously not suited to zone 5. Their first leaves always come out before the last heavy frost. And last year, they were still green in November, and the first heavy wet snow, we came out in the morning to find them laying flat. And I mean flat. But, we picked them up, shook them off, and tied them back up. And they seem to get over it all.

And the little Astrachan apple trees are growing by leaps and bounds. Next spring we'll take the tubes off and stake and fence them instead.

Now is also the time to putter about with soil conditions. There appears to be a calcium deficiency, as evidenced by our blossom end rot. Adding bone meal at the roots kept it at bay, but I went to the feed store and bought a couple of bags of ground oyster shell grit and spread it liberally. It will have all winter to leach through the soil, and in the spring, we'll work it in as we plant.

We are still enjoying fresh beans and peas from the garden. The Maestro Peas and Blue Lake bush beans are doing great. The Survivor Peas are a bit slow, and the Goldmine Beans gave up pretty quick. So next year we'll skip those varieties. This one Maestro plant is really rising to the occassion!


  1. We tried a Mulberry in ON. It lasted half of one winter. Like yours, it got creamed by an early snow, but with some human intervention, it recovered nicely. What did it in was that we lost most of our snow and some of our frost in late January and Mr. Mulberry thought it was spring time so he broke dormancy. Then we had a spell of -35 degree mornings. The end.

  2. I planted these mulberries 7 years ago. The first 5 years went smoothly, but perhaps being small and inside the tree tubes is the key to that. They are now at least 15 feet tall, and the spring buds have been frozen to smithereens the last two years. This year I did see some berries though.

  3. We bought the biggest one we could find (dumb) and we didn't think about the foliage issue (dumber)until the first two foot lake effect snowmonster blew in off Lake Huron.

    Our winter minima really didn't permit many fruit trees; even the hardier apples were chancey once one got away from the lakes. I remember quite clearly the tag said 5 on it. Since we lived in zone 4a, this ought to have been my biggest clue !

    I will say that if you can keep them watered, mulberries grow quite nicely here in southern middle TN !