Monday, October 1, 2012

Putting the Beds to Bed

 It is October first, and the garden has been put to bed.  This is something that could be, and has been, done all in one day, but I prefer to spread it out over about two weeks.  There is a degree of mourning, a time for reflection and reminiscence, a tidying of affairs.  During this wind down I keep an eye on the weather and pick the last of crops as the temperatures and rain fall dictate.  I pull spent flowers instead of trimming them, and dump pots.  Most of the containers I used for potatoes and such are emptied into the beds to amend them with the peat moss and other additives that are leftover.  Pots, poles and tags are washed and stowed away.  Tim disappears into one shed or another and begins banging and thumping and complaining about how I have no concept of spatial relations. 

Toad Two of Three
 The toads, earthworms and bees don't see this time as a tidying of affairs.  From their viewpoint I am laying waste to their habitat and I go slowly so I don't accidentally injure anyone and to give them a head start towards relocating to higher ground.

There is always a little island leftover.  In the potato patch I have a Butterstick zucchini plant and two rows of beans still growing and producing.

It seems that the later I plant bush beans, the healthier the plants and the better the crop.  These were planted around the last week of July.  They will keep us (and probably a few other people) eating fresh garden produce until the first hard frost.  I already froze three gallons of beans so all of these can be eaten fresh or given away.

September is high season for zinnias and nasturtiums.  I regretfully pulled all the others but left this little cluster of sunshine near the gate to be enjoyed for a few more weeks.

The autumn colors are brilliant and early this year.  The meteorologists warned that the trees may drop their leaves early before they turn to full color because they have been stressed by the drought.  So far, the effect has been for early and stunning color.  The ash have mostly turned, and about half the maples are reaching peak color.  I would say we are two weeks ahead on color.


We are enjoying lush green grass, moderate temperatures, and autumn skies and views.  I have already had to clip my horse's coat to keep him cool on rides.  Any blog followers who would like to read a horse blog instead, can follow my horse's blog at The Grey Horse.

Just an update on the Poop Deck.  Instead of trying to manage the incorporation of new material into the pile on a daily basis, Tim came up with a solution for household and garden scraps.  He had this scrap of drainpipe leftover from a ditching project.  The inner walls are smooth, not corrugated like the outer wall.  He drilled air holes between each ridge at four points to provide airflow.  Let me tell you, this is a composting machine

We filled it nearly to the top every couple of days during the summer, and within a week, the level would have reduced by a couple of feet.  Periodically, we would throw a thin layer of material from the compost pile itself, and during dry periods we would use the hose to add water.  A few weeks ago we emptied it for the first time.   Tim used the tractor loader to dig a valley into the pile and we pulled the lightweight drainpipe up and off leaving the column of compost standing.  The compost at the bottom was completely broken down and ready to use.  We pushed the half cooked material over into the pile and covered it so it can continue cooking.  This drainpipe is perfect for the lazy composter! 

We used about half of this pile to amend the beds, potato patch and areas around the landscaping.  We are now off to the farm for another load that can compost through the winter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised you haven't had any frost yet. Reports out of the Great White North suggest that they're two frosts ahead of you. The first one occurred in late August but it was just a light scrape-the-windows frost. The second one occurred while mom was down here last week and it was a harder freeze that ruined things at my Uncle's place in town, one mile north of the Lake Ontario shore. That close to the water they usually manage to get well into October before they have to worry about frost.

    Bean fungi/insect pests/diseases seem to do best in June and July. I've had the same experience with navy beans. The later you plant them, the better they do and the healthier the plants are. Of course given my comments above there is a limit as to how late you can safely plant a commercial crop of beans without risking frost damage.