Putting the Garden to Bed

Garlic Beds

Here we are in mid October and things are finally winding down in the garden. The Garlic is planted, those beds are mulched with old hay and the tools are getting picked up.

 

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Half of the main garden has now been taken over by Garlic. If you want to learn more about how to grow and harvest Garlic, check out our 4 part series. Once the area was given a good end-of-year weeding, I raked the area into raised beds. Jaime and I added a LOT of well composted manure; she has pushed a lot of wheelbarrows! I’m so appreciative of all her help this year.

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Once the upper left part of the garden was cleared out and weeded, I scattered Fall Rye seed. This will become a cover crop and in turn will act as a green manure to help amend the soil. Sometimes I used Buckwheat, especially in the late summer. Buckwheat doesn’t need much time to grow, so if you have a free area and 30 days of growing time left in the season, try Buckwheat.

For mid Fall into the early Spring, I like to cover with Fall Rye. If we till the garden in the Spring, this just gets tilled in. If you want to learn more about green manure (cover cropping) click on the link.

You can see the Asparagus patch on the far left. We pick Asparagus freely here until the end of the first week in July, and then we leave it alone. The stalks grow and turn into fronds, starting to yellow in late summer. Some people cut the stalks down in Fall, but we leave ours alone and do the cutting in the Spring. Those fronds will add a bit of protection to the roots below the surface. Before the snow flies, I’ll mulch the Asparagus with old spent hay to add further protection. This will get removed in the Spring and the Asparagus will grow again.

 

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The leaves are gone now from most of the trees; Fall is slowly turning to Winter here in the Cariboo. We haven’t had snow yet; thank goodness. Hopefully that won’t happen for awhile, but you never know. Now is the time to finish outdoor homestead projects and make sure things are cleaned up and put away.

I still have to mulch the strawberry beds, but I’ll do that when I do the Asparagus. That bare bed in the front of the picture is a small potato patch; planted this Spring, we will leave these in the ground until mid-March or so. It depends on the amount of snow we get, but we are looking forward to a few fresh and delicious potatoes to enjoy in the Spring. Try this sometime; it does work. Just don’t leave them in the ground too long; if you have to, dig them up in February and then put them in your cold room.

We still have to tarp over the Greenhouse, but bit by bit, things are getting cleaned up and put away. We are already enjoying the extra rest we’re getting; sleeping in a bit is always the bonus of October.

We still have a bit of Garlic for sale; if you are looking for healthy Organic bulbs to start your own Garlic patch, you can order it here.

 

Plant Clover for the Bees!

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Do you need to reseed the bare spots in your lawn? Have you got an area that’s been cleared, levelled and now needs to be planted in grass?

 

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Think about planting clover instead of grass seed. Clover always looks nice and lush and you don’t need to mow it as often. Heck, if you plant white clover, you don’t even need to mow it at all if you don’t want to.

 

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You’ve probably heard about all the problems with the bee population decreasing severely. One way to do your part in helping the bees would be to plant things they love. We NEED the bees. Do you have any idea what percentage of food plants that need bees in order to pollinate them? Some sources say around 30% while others say it could be up to 85%. Either way, we need the bees.

Look at this PDF put out by the USDA – if you read through it, you will see this partial list:

Vegetables:  Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupes, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Green Pepper, Leek, Lettuce, Okra, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rutabaga, Squash, Tomato, Turnip, White Gourd

There are also about 30 different types of fruit on the list as well. Do read through the PDF and share it with anyone you think is interested in helping the bee population.

 

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When we built Graham’s shop, we had the area around it cleared and levelled. I was pretty specific in what I wanted there – Clover. I was also specific in letting the machine guy know how I wanted the area finished off. What I wanted, no, needed, was a level slightly sloping lawn area that wouldn’t need much maintaining from me.

So, after it was levelled, I walked around and threw down White Clover seed. Wonderful stuff, clover is. It smells absolutely divine when it’s in bloom. It attracts any bees that may be around.

This is a Win-Win. The Clover is great for the bees and having more bees around our property means they will probably help with pollinating our fruits and vegetables.

Clover is also a wonderful green manure cover crop, so if there’s a portion of your yard you will eventually want to turn into a garden, plant clover in there to begin with. Clover takes nitrogen from the air and puts it into the soil. Read more about the benefits of sowing white clover here.

Other possibilities for cover crops that we use ourselves is Buckwheat and Fall Rye. Granted, neither of these would work well as an alternative to lawn, but if you need to improve your soil, read our posts about them.

So, think about throwing some Clover seed around. You’ll pretty up the place, it will smell wonderful, the bees will come abuzzin’ and you can take comfort in the fact that running a lawn mower over it (or not) every three weeks or so will be an easy chore.

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