Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Closing the Garden

We haven't had a hard frost yet, but Bruce and I are working at closing up the garden. Last Sunday we spent about four hours picking tomatoes. Even the green ones will ripen inside and be better tasting than those we buy in January. Chef Barry had his staff busy chopping and freezing everything that was ripe. They will be greatly enjoyed this winter.

When you start to pick everything, it is amazing at how much there is. In addition to tomatoes, we picked zucchini, jalapeno peppers, chile peppers, green peppers and parsley. The peppers and zucchini went to the lodge. I dried the parsley and had a big bag of parsley flakes for Eva and for me. They actually smell like parsley and are green not brown.

It's been a week since we did this and already things are growing back. There are more jalapeno peppers to pcik. Bruce brought in another dozen zucchinis. As long as there is no frost, they will continue to grow.

On Saturday I dug out the potatoes. Part go to daughter Shawn, part to Eva and part to us. We still need to perfect our growing technique for them but it is getting better.

The carrots are still in the ground. I'll let them stay there for a few more weeks. When we need carrots, I go dig them up. Also the broccoli are still growing. They have been providing us with food for almost 3 months.

Of course, harvesting is not the biggest part of closing the garden. Now I need to clean out all the leftovers from beds. That debris goes in the compost pile. Then the perennials like strawberries, chives, asparagus and rhubarb need a last, good weeding. We will plant garlic in one bed this fall. It will be the first up next spring. Once everything is cleaned and weeded, Bruce will cover it all with a thin coat of horse manure. That can sit all winter and enrich our beds for next summer. With 17 horses, there is lots to go around.

Other parts of the yard need to get ready for winter too. I will pull out all the annual flowers and put them in the compost pile. The perennials will be cut back and perhaps transplanted to another location. Then horse manure goes on top of everything. In our regrowing woods, small trees will be covered to protect them from the deer. I tried spraying them last year but was not satisfied so we will go back to covering.

Afternoons are when I do most of this work. The morning is spent in the office. I have also been trying to walk a bit in the morning. Down to one of the mailboxes and back is 2 miles. In January Bruce I will be be taking a trip to Australia. Part of the trip is a six-day hike at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. We have to carry about 15 pounds so I am practicing. This morning I put a 10-pound bag of sugar in my day pack. The hardest problem is to not find an excuse to skip the walk. Combined with working in the garden, the walk will (maybe) talk a pound or two off.

Mix in a few meetings and you know how our fall days pass. It is a quiet lifestyle but we enjoy it.

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