The New Home Economics

A few final garden chores for the year

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We’ve had such a long, warm, glorious fall here in Minnesota that time got away from me. Suddenly I realized that it was nearly the end of October. Time to get to work!

Here was one small accomplishment for early October: my raspberries needed a little TLC. Our raspberry harvest this year was 1/4 of what it was in 2010. This was partially due to the weather — we had a horrendous July in which the weather was evenly split between torrential rains and tropical heat/humidity levels. But I also haven’t amended the soil underneath the raspberries at all since Adam planted them in back in 2007 (I was 32 weeks pregnant with twins, so it was all him).

So to give them a little bit of care and feeding, I bought a bag of blood meal and topped it with 4 bags of compost. This was enough for approximately half of my raspberries.  I spread out the blood meal as best I could — that stuff’s expensive — and got compost out of my own compost bin for the other half.  There’s a little more square footage there than I always think.

Anyway here’s how it looked, completely composted:

raspberry plants with compost

I then gave them several good waterings over the next couple weeks — as you can see our lawn was (and still is) completely dead. It is very dry here right now.  Now this week our maple tree unleashed all its leaves, so we are piling them at least a foot deep on the raspberries.  Leaves are mother nature’s free mulch — don’t waste your time and energy bagging them when they could be protecting and nourishing your plants!  Hopefully 2012 will be a better raspberry year.

It wouldn’t be fall in our kitchen without a couple bags of pumpkin in the freezer. Here’s how we do that.

I am also brewing my very first batch of kombucha! I’ll let you know how that goes — should be ready around Thanksgiving.

The other day I went out to see if there were any carrots left in the garden, found a whole soup pot’s worth, plus a bonus turnip.

I finally got around to planting my garlic yesterday. Unlike last year, I have not the faintest idea yet how I want to structure my garden for next year, so I just threw these in on the far east (right) side, three rows all in a row.  I am definitely going to regret not giving this more thought, but at least they’re in.

Final task: getting our third stock tank into place for our back yard garden. I received two of them as birthday presents this spring from my parents, and a few months later I found a really nice third one to add for next year. Aesthetically, we really needed three of them to complete the landscape I am envisioning.  Poor Adam had to shovel most of the dirt out of Rowan’s tank to move the new one into place — since it’s larger, it looks better in this larger area of the garden. But it didn’t take that long in the end.

There you have it, two small and one large tank in place and ready for next year. The middle one (Anneke’s) is still FULL of swiss chard, going strong. That along with parsley and kale in the regular garden means we might have a couple more weeks yet of from-the-yard food. In November! Amazing.

We’re also going to build a hoop-house (something like this) this winter to put on top the largest of the three tanks — it creates a mini-greenhouse and means we could be eating lettuce and baby greens in April or May instead of June.  Yes, please!

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2 thoughts on “A few final garden chores for the year

  1. i had a bad season for raspberries this year too. but this might be because i cut back too much growth the year before. my plants are everbearing, which means i ususally get 3 rounds in the summer. i didn’t get any until sept, but has been a real treat this fall.

    • Well, that confirms my weather hypothesis, Laura. Thanks! It was a bad bean year for many people for the same reason. Pollinators were not as active during the sultry weather, then the torrential rains knocked the blossoms off before they had a chance to get to them anyway. Double whammy.

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