Thursday, November 15, 2007

Time to put the beds to bed.

Here's pix from last weekend's project. Got going kind of late to paddle on Sunday (it's dark at 5 now, and getting cooler), so this was the perfect project instead.

I knew it was getting to be that time. Xris of Flatbush Gardener had posted a first-frost warning for Brooklyn. The Paddling Chef had sent out a great little writeup of his end-of-season shutdown, including how happy he was with a lovely 'trellis' he found in the trash during the Fall work-day - "Every bed needs a headboard!" - and how nice it will look covered with cucumbers & morning glories.

Looks nice, indeed. He's already got garlic in. Hmmm, that's one more piece of my pesto that could be homegrown, I guess...

I found myself wavering when I got to the club. The cosmos, though fallen, still had some buds; there were cherry tomatoes ripening; the mystery mesclun was still leafy and green. But I've found that the garden is winding itself down without my help. The flowers were OK from a distance, but close up, looking tired. The cherry tomatoes have these little black spots & the ones I took home to ripen weren't as sweet as they'd been, and seemed to go bad the minute they were ripe. The greens had succumbed to the first bad aphid infestation I'd seen all summer, I had to inspect every leaf to be sure there weren't bugs in my salad.

So...out with almost everything.

Here go the cosmos. What a root ball. That's like one of the bags of dirt I bought in the Spring wrapped up in there! You can't really see well in this picture but there was an IMPRESSIVE crater there. Shook most of it loose but the bed definitely needs replenishing, the plants took dirt with them plus of course there's been an entire season of nutrients sucked out of the good stuff I put in there in Spring.

Discoveries that this neophyte gardener has made -

Root balls can EXPLODE when you go to pull them apart. It is a good idea not to be holding them a foot from the end of your nose when that happens.

Beets are craftier than one might think. This one evaded harvest by cleverly concealing itself beneath the cherry tomatoes.

Next year, the peppers really have to be planted on the other side of the giant towering thicket of cosmos. They were having flowers all season but it wasn't until the cosmos fell over & the peppers started getting more sun that the flowers started turning into peppers! In fact if there are cosmos next year, they will be at the far end of the bed from where they were this year - that'll let the shorter plants (which was EVERYTHING - get much more sun.

I picked that one, it was good. I doubt these ones are going to make it up to a decent size, but I decided to leave the plants in, let 'em try until the bitter frosty end.

End result - peppers & peas & onions & one marigold allowed to keep going. Thyme transferred to a pot on a windowsill at home. Seeds collected from the remnants of the basil, planted in a pot & sharing that windowsill (one's starting already). Everything else in the compost heap (which I turned for the exercise!).

And I hear from a credible source that all I need now is 12 cubic feet of horsesh** & I'm done for the season.

Heeeeeere, horsie horsie horsie!

cross-posted at the Sebago Canoe Club blog

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