Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Garden Update

After several weeks of glorious fall weather I woke up today to gray skies and chilly breezes. The brightly colored trees are starting to fade and the yard begs to be raked. I have a strong desire to hunker down on the couch under a fuzzy blanket, sip cocoa, and hide from the world till spring.

The gardens have been put to sleep for the year. I didn’t get around to planting the fall and winter seeds so there won’t be a winter harvest, leaving the garden open and bare. We pulled up the dead and dying summer plants, tilled, and planted a cover crop of clover. A few kale plants and a row of carrots are all that is left, both will survive through light frosts and will be a welcome addition when our CSA share ends in three weeks.

The flower beds have been heavily mulched and left to their own devices. The squirrels are enjoying burying acorns in them and next year I’ll have a handful of oak seedlings popping up around my dahlias and snapdragons.

The last few garden chores consist of putting down fall/winter fertilizer on the lawn, keeping the leaves raked up and dumped in the compost heap, and planting the bare root fruit trees I bought last year but never got in the ground. The grass could use aerating and fertilizing but after that there isn’t much to do outside.

As I sit and watch the storm clouds darken the sky I think about the past year of gardening. I accomplished more than expected (my first ripe pumpkin!) but didn’t quite reach all my goals. I didn’t preserve the sudden onslaught of tomatoes, nor did I succession plant at all. I ended up relying more on the CSA box than on the garden for our veggie needs and the chickens enjoyed the overflow. Yes, I was pregnant and had a hard time dealing with the heat, but I still hate missing the year's goals.

But there were high notes as well: putting down several yards of cow manure that broke up the clay, discovering that spaghetti squash loves growing on the trellis, getting the cover crop in, and of course, that beautiful pumpkin. I learned a bit more on what works and what doesn’t for my patch of dirt, and next year will have a new and improved game plan.

I feel a little sad to be shutting the garden gate and focusing my time and energy indoors, but grateful as well. Its been a long year and I could do with the rest.