Autumn Work: Putting the Garden to Bed

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There are a few treasures left in the garden. One rose-bush and a mum (a tall, weird mum that only blooms in November) are still flowering.

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Can you see how weirdly tall this mum is?

Otherwise, everything else needed to be cleared out for the winter.  In past years when I haven’t taken out the dead vegetables and pruned, I have regretted it come spring when I want to plant and I can’t.  Putting the garden to bed is kind-of the gardening equivalent to filling a sink with hot, soapy water before I cook.  I think it’s easier to do this work in the autumn when the gratitude for all it produced is still fresh in me.
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I required the children’s help (ten hands made light work!) and rewarded them with “free computer time”… they were all in until I started to mix fresh compost.

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We spread sheep-manure compost over the beds and laid the dried grass we’d saved over it all. (Obviously, don’t do this if you use fertilizer on your grass or if it’s full of weeds.)

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This flower bed was entirely choked with sunflowers this year. When I ripped them all out, I lost a good third of the soil on the roots, so it needed additional soil and compost. I had a bunch of oldish flower packets, and I sprinkled them in, hoping that in the spring they will think they naturalized themselves there. It’s worked in the past.

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Strawberry plants, beautifully colored for fall.

We didn’t get to the raspberry canes yet. Maybe this weekend?

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Here is our final harvest of the year:
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More potatoes (Yukon gold and purple) than I expected, and some bizarre, overgrown carrots that were hidden in the cucumber vines. As Calvin (or Hobbes?) says, There’s treasure everywhere.

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