This weekend I partially accomplished one of the major garden chores of the fall The Fall Vegetable Garden Cleanup! There's a second section of the vegetable garden that needs cleaned up still but I really wanted to leave the tomatoes alone for now so that maybe, just maybe they could ripen up a few more before the end of the season. They've already survived a couple of minor frosts in my backyard but I think we might be without frosts for another week (keeping my fingers crossed!) and we may have enough time to squeeze out a few more red ripe tomatoes.
The bulk of my time was spent in the raised beds in the picture below (more on raised beds here). The long bed on the left (4'x8') was completely engulfed in Bermuda grass as was the smaller one (3'x4') toward the front of the picture. These beds are untreated pine in their third year and are really starting to show some wear. I planted two rows of garlic in the small front bed along with some lettuce and chard in between. I will need a screen to prevent the deer from eating away the greens but I doubt they will like the garlic very much! The second small bed was planted with more garlic of a different variety. The other beds we weeded, hoed up to remove all traces of Bermuda grass roots (as best as possible anyway since that task is nearly impossible), then covered with leaves that I gathered up with my push mower with the bag attachment - I love that bag!
The leaves will serve as a mulch over the winter and should help add organic content to the soil as they break down. I may come back later this week and plant a cover crop like clover to help fix more nitrogen into the soil. I need to gather some manure and add it to the compost bin to cure over the winter to help nourish my raised beds for gardening in 2011.
These beds are being protected from the deer. In this bed are a few small summer squash plants that most likely won't produce anything at this point. This raised bed also contains a bunch of cilantro
seedlings. We're big fans of that herb around here! The pepper bed in the back was also cleaned up but I didn't cover with the leaf mulch.
The back section of the garden housed my tomato plants this year. It's still a complete mess. The vines have gone everywhere and the deer have nibbled every branch. There are still tomatoes being produced on the inside of the plants and maybe they will ripen up a little more - it all depends on the weather!
Here's a look at a couple green ones. My daughters went harvesting tomatoes today from the "Tomato Orchard" as they called it. Both green and red tomatoes found they way into their baskets. Some we'll let ripen while others will no doubt become fried green tomatoes!
The cherry tomatoes are always the most prolific tomato producers in my garden. You just can't stop them! This plant was a volunteer that I moved next to the garden fence. The artemisia in front of it may have offered a shield form the nibbling deer.
After the beds were cleaned up I planted 2 varieties of garlic, two varieties of Romaine lettuce, chard, and red onions. I have my deer protection plan ready to go - once they germinate!
What's growing in your garden?
***Never burn your leaves - They are too valuable to waste!***
Labels: fall gardening, fall vegetable garden, vegetable garden