Hey guys, I did it! I unlocked the Prepare the Garden For Winter achievement!
The weather this week has been beautiful, sunny, and mild so I resolved to take advantage of what are surely our final nice days to complete all of the garden chores that have been nagging me. I don’t know about you but I hate doing messy, wet garden work and soil digging while dressed like the Michelin Man and wearing cold weather gloves (not work gloves). Cold weather is often a deterrent to getting out into the garden and getting things done. It is a happy day when I can work outside for hours at a time wearing only a hat, a fall jacket, and no gloves.
- The garlic is in! And not too soon as I was growing tired of worrying about it. I still have a few more bulbs that I could put in if the desire strikes me, but I don’t need to. I love that everything from here on out is a bonus. I planted Elephant Garlic as well. The 2012 crop did so well that I thought I would experiment with growing it in a few different conditions to see how it can be better protected but also pushed.
- I cleaned the iris bed of all old, yellowing, or dead leaves and trimmed the remaining healthy leaves back. There was a second iris bed but I pulled that out on a whim in order to expand the Dry Bed.
- I covered the artichoke plant to protect it. This will be my second attempt at overwintering. Last year I mulched with leaves and covered with a box. That did not work out — the plant was a rotting mess by spring. I am doubtful about this year’s attempt, too, but am willing to give it a try.
- I planted all remaining bulbs. I thought I had accomplished that feat a few days ago but was shocked to discover a few stragglers.
- I cleaned out the ramshackle shed and reorganized all of the seedling pots by size and shape. I save and reuse all of the best plastic planters year-after-year. It always looks like I have too many, but miraculously they are all used. The shed was a disaster this fall as I was lazy in the spring, literally tossing emptied pots into the shed at the end of each day. I said I was going to clean it up, but the summer heat made the shed unbearable so the mess just keep piling up and piling up. When seed-starting season begins I’ll be able to find the pots I need without losing my mind.
- I set up the row cover and an assortment of giant water bottle cloches. I still have one final cover to install, but it’s not a big deal.
- I collected ‘Egyptian Walking’ onions and planted them where I wanted them to come up in the spring. I also planted a few under row covers with the hope that we can harvest a few fresh green clippings through the winter.
- I cleaned up the back compost bin. We’d let it languish in favour of the tumbling composter. I was pleased to discover that things were active below a pile of debris that we had lazily plopped on top. It is now tossed, fluffed, cleaned up, and in working order again.
- I cleaned up all of the stems from the Jerusalem artichoke. This was no small feat as many of the stems were as thick as a small tree branch. My next goal is to dig a bunch up and preserve it before the ground freezes.
- I cut back all of the hardy perennial herbs.
I still have a few small odds and ends to complete before the snow comes — the main jobs being putting all of the terracotta pots of hardy plants into the shed and cleaning up the porch — but I will do that on Friday. My back is broken, but as of today I am stress free as it relates to the garden!