Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Fall Garden, part 1

Two weeks ago when the autumn rains started, I hurriedly threw on row cover on most everything I wanted to save, what with the temps dipping down into the forties.  That is the advantage of raised beds and the small home garden- you can create micro climates to extend the growing season.

The rewards are there, in the bowls of tomatoes I am still harvesting:
Plum tomatoes from the south side of the bed

To extend the life of your tomatoes, you have to go in and clean out the dead leaves, the spent branches you picked tomatoes off of.  With increased moisture in the air, and the cold weather, you want to make sure you have good air flow and limit the amount of mold that can grow.  This is before the cleanup.

Cleaning up allows you to also pick all those tomatoes that have been hiding out of site.  I also picked the rest of the sage and dried it in my food dryer ( on a low setting).  Will be using that in stuffing and sausage the rest of the winter.

The east tomato bed all cleaned up.  There was so much foliage in here that the ground was dry, even though it had been raining off and on for a week.  This way the water gets to the roots, I don't have to water, and there is good air circulation  this is not my main bed of tomatoes, so i am not covering this up.  There are not a lot of tomatoes left to ripen on these branches, and they are mostly the yellow pear.  I figure about 3-4 days of sunny weather ( which we have coming up) will ripen them. 

There about 30 pounds of tomatoes left on the vines to ripen - I'm hoping the warm weather we have over the next few days will help.  Picked about 20 pounds of paste tomatoes on Wednesday after work - which all went into the dehydrator.

The rain stopped for a bit last weekend - long enough for me to plant my garlic bed:

Last spring this is where the potatoes and broccoli grew.  But I am moving the location of those to another bed, so got this one ready for garlic.

Ready for the garlic:
This is a soft neck variety - can't remember the name because I left the tag outside - think it is a silver rose, but bought them from my favorite nursery - 13th Street Nursery here in Salem, Oregon.  Also picked up several blueberries - they were having a sale on all their perennials!

It is not supposed to rain for several days, so that give me time to finish mulching, get out the old corn stalks, cover up the silly tomato that took root in my carrot/pea bed, bring the dried herbs in from the shed, build a small storage area (root cellar) for our squash, build a winter shelter for Hitlers mistress, pick the seed beans for drying, pick the last of the grapes...  I think you get the idea.  When you are a gardener, there is a never ending list of things to do, not enough good weather to do it in, so you have to work fast in the fall to get it all done.  Hmm, should probably seal those leaks in the gutters, winterize the faucets, start raking leaves, plant the blueberries, ....
Picked the Chinese lanterns before the rains started; they are now drying in the shed.
One of today's projects - get the corn stalks and sunflowers stalks out of the ground.
Off to work..


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