Saturday, September 3, 2011

Getting The Garden Ready for Fall

A new green bean plant poking up in the raised bed.

Our green peppers and green bush beans still growing strong!

Where the cukes, zukes and pumpkins were, and the compost pile in the corner.
Happy Saturday all! I'm joining up with Homestead Revival for the weekly Preparedness Challenge. I was going to write about what I learned from going through Hurricane Irene, however, I'm just not feeling up to it. I'm feeling rather guilty about having come through unscathed while just 3 miles up the road from us my fellow Vermonters are stranded, some having lost their homes. I will share some of the photos that I took from last Sunday, as well as some important things that I learned about emergency preparedness. For today I will be talking (writing!) about getting the garden ready for fall/winter.

I hadn't been out in the garden this past week except to pick a couple of pumpkin and zucchinis. Last Saturday evening my darling hubby and I picked everything we could out of the garden. We had some cukes, zukes, pumpkins and lots of green peppers. That was my last big trip to the garden! So last night I took a good look at the garden and discovered that all but 1 of our "squash" vines had been eaten by grubs. So I harvested what I could and started yanking vines out of their hills. Princess helped by picking up the newspapers that been used for mulch.

We piled all of the weeds, vines and newspapers into one corner of the garden. This is going to be our compost pile for the fall and winter. It was also the night to clean out the coop, so I pulled the wheel barrow up to the coop door and shoveled everything in. I wheeled it up to the garden and shoveled it onto our pile. Then I went over to where our rain buckets are (5 gallon pails that we set under the eaves to catch the rain water!) and filled my watering can a couple of times and watered our pile. I'm truly hoping that we have a good start on our compost so that it will break down over the cold months.
Here are some sites/articles on the basics of composting and how to start:
O.k., after reading these, I'm beginning to think I need to re-start my pile! This is one of those times where enthusiasm has trumped knowledge. I just started in without really knowing what I was doing, but luckily, it is easily remedied.

For our fall gardening, I also planted some green bush beans in one of our raised beds that is currently only holding 2 perennial herbs. (For more on my raised beds read here!) I soaked them for about 36 hours before planting them. They've started coming up, so hopefully they will be ready for harvest before it gets too cold. If worse comes to worse, I can always cover them to keep the frost off. (I read this article in Mother Earth News before I planted. (Yes, I have a subscription!) It's on fall gardening.)
I would really like to be able to can some more green beans, but I'm not sure how much more I'm going to get out of my current crop. They currently have blossoms on them, but we have a forecast that includes heavy rain, so we could lose them. Even if I only get 1 harvest off of them, I'd be happy!

It's my plan to clean out the chicken run before we get snow. All of the debris will be added to the compost pile. There will be hay, manure and food bits that the chickens didn't eat. In a way, there is some compost in the run already because they've broken down some grass, hay, wood shavings and fruit/veggie scraps. When I clean out the coop, I usually toss it into the run, where the girls can scratch and break it up for us. And all of our grass clippings go into the run, so the girls can have a snack and it helps keep the smell down. One of Teddy Bear's favorite things to do is to pull the long grass out of Grandma & Grampa's manure pile and feed it to the chickens! I'd also like to let the chickens roam around in the garden after everything has played out. I figure they can help to aerate and fertilize the soil!

While we're on the topic of gardens, I've also began plans for next year's garden. (I can't remember if I shared these or not, but if I have, please forgive me!) We are going to add more raised beds up next to our current garden, and veggies will go in here. Before it gets too late into fall, I plan on moving 2 of my perennial herbs over to the other raised bed, and dedicate their current home to annual herbs and perhaps some lettuce. The "squash" crops will be grown in our fenced in garden plot, with sunflowers in the back. Pole beans will be grown in the front, with the fence for support. In the beds will be our bush beans, peppers, etc. I'm going to save some money in the garden budget for marigolds to plant at the edges to act as insect control. This past spring I tried twice to start them from seed, with no luck. So, this coming spring I'll bite the bullet and just buy a few.

Many Blessings,

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