November 11, 2011

Preparing the Garden for Winter

About a week ago I decided it was time to pull up the garden for the summer. Winters are cold enough around here that most vegetable plants don't survive, at least that's what I've been told. I harvested the rest of the green tomatoes and cut down the plants. A great trick for ripening green tomatoes is to put them in a paper bag with an apple. I got so many romas this way that I was able to make a large batch of yummy pasta sauce. The grape tomatoes are not ripening as well, though, but there are so many I hope they do.

The three tomato plants were the biggest part of the garden. The pepper plant didn't get very big, probably because it was crowded by enormous tomato plants, or partly because the peat pot it came in (the only plant I didn't start from seed) never opened up to let the roots out. I did cut it open before I planted it, but I guess I should have pulled it off completely. The broccoli plant was also huge. I guess that's why the variety is called "Green Goliath." That took some effort to cut up. The only plants I left were the carrots, but I don't expect them to grow much more. In all, it was a great season for tomatoes and broccoli, not so much for carrots, lettuce and bell peppers.

Once that was done, I pulled out the black plastic 3x3 raised beds. I'll move them to the lower tier and possibly do some berries next year (we'll see). I filled the new wood bed with the remainder of the soil and compost that I had. One side is full, but the other is only half full. On the full side, I planted two square feet of garlic, about 4" apart (I hope that's enough) for a total of 18. What I will do with that much garlic I have no idea, but I spent money on them so I planted as much as I could. I covered it with leaves like mulch and then covered it with a net so the neighborhood cats don't use it as a litterbox again. The leaves still blew away, so I did it again and set the folded up green pop-up net on top for weight.

Other than pulling up the remaining carrots, I think I'm done with the vegetable garden for the winter. I'll wait until spring to add the rest of the soil and compost to the other side. And with that, my outdoor adventures are done for the season. See you in spring!

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