Saturday, October 15, 2016

The last garden jobs for autumn 2016

Leek flower, September 2016
I started documenting this project at the end of May 2016, after most of the hard work of spring had been done.  I did some transplanting and a little seed sowing during the summer, but the main work was a little weeding, caterpillar removal, and vegetable harvest--not to mention garden enjoyment!   And true, this time of year is not heavy on garden tasks, as the growing season ends.  September was fairly sunny and warm, and unexpectedly extended the growing season a little longer (I even got a few extra zuccini and a surprise squash).  Now, however, things are slowing down, cooling down.  But as I am looking ahead to future food, I have tasks now.

Plant garlic and shallots

I had a modest garlic harvest this year.  We have already eaten the smallest bulbs and I saved the biggest for replanting.  I've bought and planted 50 cloves (from 4 heads) of garlic already;  I'll plant some of my own harvested garlic later this month, in 2017's Roots bed (2016's Miscellaneous bed).  I think I have about 10-12 big bulbs, with probably 8 cloves each;  this won't be enough to plant as well as eat--with judicious use we should probably last until November I think, after which I'll probably start buying it again.

I've never grown shallots before;  I've read they can be planted just like garlic.  I've looked for bulbs from the local garden centers unsuccessfully.  I'll have to look online (or failing that, an upmarket grocery store).

Sow cauliflower

I have a variety of cauliflower which is sown now, grown in a cold frame over winter, and planted out in spring for a summer harvest.  I'll give it a shot. 

Harvest potatoes and runner beans

The main runner bean patch is pretty much finished;  the big pods I saved for seed can be hung up to dry for next year.  I need that space to transplant the final few winter cabbage and spring broccoli plants out of the Holding bed.  There is a random potato volunteer there too, to be harvested (or destroyed, depending on its blight status). 

Clear away spent plants, sow winter cover crops

It's too late for most of the Miscellaneous bed plants.  The bed needs to be cleared and green manure seeds sown onto it;  I've already done this where the tomatoes were, thanks to blight.  I'll be clearing the Roots bed too, and piling lots of chicken bedding (manure and straw) onto it.  (A little later in the year, once they have died down, I'll move the peony and raspberry canes from the Holding bed, and spread either chicken bedding or compost onto it.  I don't want to move them until they're fully dormant.)

Mulch

Everything in the Brassica bed is growing well and I need to give it all a good mulch.  I'll use the oldest compost from my first bin;  this will protect their roots from cold, but hopefully not harbor slugs.  I'll also mulch my soft fruit bushes--and rhubarb, artichoke and asparagus (hopefully all still alive)--with chicken bedding.

Sow broad beans

Lastly, I'll try sowing broad beans for next year's crop.  I'll sprout them in the garage first, then plant them in 2017's Peas and Beans bed.  However, I'll reserve some seed for spring sowing too, in case they don't survive the winter.

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