The garden was in full swing this summer and we fought hard to keep things flourishing. But it was once again lost a lost cause with no rain and lots of heat. So we began to close things down and started thinking about fall plantings. Even before we could get the beds cleared and seeds sprouted in the green house the rains and cold weather hit. So we have been working on winterizing the garden, pulling out old crops, hauling them to the chickens and pigs and mulching the beds.
This garden bed is not really Sleeping but is planted in GARLIC! Garlic is a plant in fall harvest 9 mo. later kind of food. And it gets planted in fall. If it doesn’t overwinter the heads are tiny with no real cloves. It’s the perfect thing to plant for replenishing a bed – it’s a cheater’s kind of fallow. The garlic cloves get HEAVILY mulched – about two inches of mulch on top of the planted cloves. After harvesting the hoped for garlic bulbs, the decomposing compost / mulch gets turned under in spring. The gardner gets a crop while revitalizing the soil at the same time. That is if the cloves don’t drown from the rain or get topped by the birds. But that’s the trials of gardening.
The tomato beds has been mulched – if the weather breaks and warms up a wee bit in July Megan will plant the rows in fave beans – adding nitrogen for the spring planting and a bean harvest to boot. All weather dependent of course.
Some beds actually got seeded before the cold rains hit. The winter mustard, radishes, and a few struggling beets are in bed 9. Those beds which had rows prepared prior to the rain were planted in oats. The oats act as a fallow rotation and let us easily cut greens for the rabbits. We didn’t get all the oats in before the rain and nothing grows in the mud right now.
After a few months of impatience we managed to fertilize and seed parts of the pasture.
The rabbit forage bed also got seeded in winter wheat. It’s slow due to the early cold but with a bit of patience we should have some more winter rabbit forage.
As with any garden, Winter is planning time! Onions, leeks, and celery are getting started now for spring planting – Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants get started mid July, and from there is off and running. So right now the kitchen table is doing double duty as garden planning central. Megan (and I) can’t wait for the office to be finished so all the seeds and charts and notebooks and stuff moves off the kitchen table. Likely by then we’ll be trading seed packets for heads of early lettuce.
As always, every year we learn a little bit more about the local climate and how to best handle the unexpected wind, rain, and droughts. Things will be done differently next year and it is all in the planning.