Putting the Gardens to Bed for Winter

Yesterday was “put the gardens to bed for winter” day. I know, I’ve been talking about this for a while, but with my own garden and the two Plot Against Hunger Gardens to tuck in, I needed either several weekends or a good block of time. It also helps if someone shows up with a rototiller.

Jane said the Mantis was "a good core workout."

Jane said using the Mantis was “a good core workout.”

Jane had offered to bring her Mantis to the garden earlier in the year when I mentioned that I thought the large Plot garden and my own could use tilling. Mostly, I’m a believer in digging up the garden by hand and digging in organic matter. But every few years, it still needs a good going over with a tiller, I’ve found–and an extra pair of hands makes lighter and more enjoyable work.  Jane took the Mantis to my plot while I cleaned up the two Plot Against Hunger gardens—pulling out the okra, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, harvesting the collards, green tomatoes, chard, a very large carrot, and some fresh herbs. There was quite the harvest for end of season. I didn’t have the heart to take out all the collards, since they will continue to grow through the winter, so I left them, along with the maturing turnips and a couple slow-growing cabbages.

I'm hoping we can harvest the turnips before Christmas...

I’m hoping we can harvest the turnips before Christmas…

Once Jane was done in my garden, she came to the larger outside Plot garden and tilled it, too. While she was doing that, I took a cultivator to the small inside plot and then mulched it. The inside garden also has some celery still growing, which I also left, along with the herbs.

Celery lower right, herb patch upper center; yes, the leaf compost was warm...

Celery lower right, herb patch upper center; yes, the leaf compost was warm…

While I was working in the small garden, a commotion behind me made me glance back to a flurry of wings, then Jane called out to tell me that a hawk had lighted nearby on a fence post.

I think it was diving after a vole.  If I could speak hawk, I would have thanked and encouraged the bird.

I think it was diving after a vole. If I could speak hawk, I would have thanked and encouraged the bird.

Soon we set to work to mulch the large outside garden, with me hauling mulch and Jane smoothing it down. We worked around the poppies, larkspur, and cosmos in one corner and around the edge of the garden, since flowers are always a nice addition and these were sprouted and ready to winter over.

Jane rakes the mulch into place.  Now all we need is a little rain.

Jane rakes the mulch into place. Now all we need is a little rain.

After a tea and cocoa break, Jane offered to help me manure and mulch my garden as well—which I considered going the extra mile and was very grateful for. Once we had thrown down composted manure and mulch, Jane went back to tidy up the garden’s mulch pile and I ventured back behind the bee hive to retrieve my cold frame. It was a bit of a mess and contained a tuft of gray fur. I have a feeling the hawk may have been at work on the squirrel population this summer. And that’s not a bad thing. Now if it would only go after the rabbits…

Some arugula is in and some out.  This could be a study with a control group.  Center front of the cold frame--that's the fur tuft...

Some arugula is in and some out. This could be a study with a control group. Center front of the cold frame–that’s the fur tuft…

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One Response to Putting the Gardens to Bed for Winter

  1. Pingback: Jane Strikes Again! | arlingwords

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