Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Preparing for Winter

The Main Garden

Monday was the big push to make the garden ready for winter. Today the thermostat only reads in the mid 30s. So the cold could have been here to stay, but now they say we will have a big warm up and might even get back into the 60s next week. Well we will see. Either way the garden is mostly cleaned up and empty. I harvested all the carrots. I've stored them in the fridge. I've picked all the cabbages including another Michihili cabbage. Luckily it wasn't quite as big as the first one I picked. My refrigerator is stuffed to the gills. Sadly I haven't yet spread compost on these two beds. I'll have to get to it soon.

The Circle Garden

I took down the last of the large row covers and stored them all in the basement. Small things like my shorter bamboo poles and rebar have gone into the shed. Other things have been brought into the basement. The hoses have been disconnected. I'll have to go down into the basement soon and shut off the water and open the spigots for the winter. Basically most of the garden clutter has all been put away for the year. A few things remain but not much. I spent 4 1/2 hours total on Monday cleaning and preparing for winter. I was so exhausted when I was done.

Only a few beds remain standing. The spinach bed will live to the spring.

Likewise the kale and cilantro bed. Sadly I'm not harvesting from the kale. The aphids have really taken over. They will die over the winter and the kale will survive. So I'll won't be eating the kale until spring.

I will be eating from the Asian greens bed. I really ought to remove that cover and put on a better one that will keep the plants warmer. But I was too tired to get that done. And it has been too cold to do it the last couple of days. Yes just when my plants need me, I'm staying warm indoors.

The last bed left is the broccoli and chard bed. The chard is a goner. Though it lives the leaves are limp even on warm days. I'll pull them all in the spring. I'm going to leave the broccoli in over the winter. Granny said that she had some live and was shocked to find them growing in the spring. So maybe mine will too. I had thought I wouldn't harvest anymore here because of the aphids. But last I looked the aphids seemed to be gone. So I might get a last harvest. Just maybe.

Yesterday I was sick and tired. So I took most of the day off. I did have enough energy to make more cabbage soup for the freezer and for lunch. Today I made more pot sticker insides. I'll make them up into dumplings over the next couple of days. Then they will go into the freezer. I'll have made 240 over the last couple of weeks. It seems like a lot, but really it is only about a serving per week until the garden is up and producing again, and my daughter likes them too. So if we each have them for lunch every other week they will be all used up. If I bring them out for a party they won't even last that long.

This afternoon I'm testing a recipe for Thanksgiving. I'm thinking of pumpkin fudge. So I cooked up a batch of butternuts. Yes I call them pumpkins, but I use butternuts. The canned pumpkin you get from the store is much closer to a butternut than what you think of as a pumpkin. I did some steamed and cubed. I froze them so I can use them for additions to anything I need over the next month. The other half I pureed. I'll be making a pumpkin casserole this evening with our chicken dinner. But like the cubed squash, most will be frozen for easy eating over the next month. I find squash so much easier to deal with in large batches rather than cooking each squash individually.


  1. Hope you are feeling better. That was a lot of work you did. I have never mulched my strawberries before and they had done fine for the winter. My friend says he puts straw on his altho they get more snow and frost more often than us. I am wondering if I should be mulching mine but I have so few that I don't want to buy a bale of straw and have it sitting around next year. What do you do? It is cold here now but we are suppose to get a warm up spell too. Nancy

    1. I ignore my strawberries this time of year. I don't think they need to be mulched. For me it just encourages the slugs. That being said they were mulched with salt marsh hay in the summer to conserve water. The rock wall garden where they live dries out fairly easily. Sadly that encourages the slugs too.

    2. Thank you for your input! I haven't mulched them so far so guess I still won't! Nancy

  2. It's amazing to me how different my winter preparations are from yours. My hoses stay out year round since we can get dry stretches in the winter which means I need to water almost any time. This year we've had only .54 inches of rain sin July 1. Yes, that's POINT 54 inches, it's been a record dry year. I generally just put things away that I don't want getting wet when it rains (if it rains this year). Other than that I clean up dead and dying stuff.

  3. You have a lot more growing than I do. I only have a handful of onions and parsnips left to harvest, so I've been trying to get my neighbor's chopped leaves dug into the beds for next year. I really need some manure! If I had manure to spread over the leaves I wouldn't have to dig them in.

    My broccoli did grow and produce a bit for me last year, but it was kind of strong tasting, so I pulled it out after a couple of cuttings.

  4. That's a lot of work you've done already, hope you feel better. Our night temp will be down to the 20s soon, my garden is still not quite ready for the winter, more work needs to be done soon.

  5. You are so smart to cook up such a large batch of squash at once and freeze. I have only carrots in the garden now. And they looked very dry today. I need to either harvest or water them tomorrow. Temps are supposed to warm up this weekend. I hope to spend most of the weekend finishing up the garden cleanup.

  6. Well, at least it seems that the worst is behind you. I still have a ton of raking to do. I'd wanted to dig a few more gardening beds before the ground froze, but at this point, who knows.

    Sorry to hear about the aphids. I was pruning a big sedum the other day and noticed tons of aphids, much more than I'd ever seen in my old garden. Funny how you move into a new home and end up dealing with a whole new cast of garden pests.

  7. I love the look of sheer potential in those empty raised beds! Your Winter must be a lot colder than ours, because my broccoli always manages to survive - thrive, even. (Assuming we're talking about Sprouting Broccoli, not Calabrese...)