Well, the CSA and market may be done but the work continues!

Yes, fall time is time for garden cleanup! We have been out pulling up all the plants in the garden and making big stacks to remove from the garden. This year we experienced and exceptionally bad infestation of the cucumber beetle, you may remember from the spring when it devastated our cucumber plantings 3 times and set back our zucchinis and pattypans by weeks. ┬áThese unwelcome guests over-winter in garden debris. One way to help manage these populations is to keep the garden clean – so all plants and vines are being removed and brought down to the bush property to compost. This way, the bugs are far from the garden in case any do survive in the compost heap, which is likely.

Piles of tomato vines

Mom and I were also out digging up a few of the last items in the garden for our own storage: a few potatoes, carrots, kale and turnip. We also dug up our seed stock for Jerusalem Artichokes, which we plan to offer in the 2013 CSA!

Harvesting a few final red potatoes for our winter storage.

You know, one thing about start up farming is that you really learn a lot. For example, just this week I learned that waiting for ALL the produce to finish in the garden (kales and other frost hardy plants) means that it is likely too late to plant fall rye. It is important to use cover crops in organic farming to help smother weeds, return nutrients to the soil and improve tilth, so I had planned to put in some fall rye this month. Some farmers tell me that it is still possible to plant fall rye in late october but you won’t really get much growth, others say it will germinate and die, others say it’s just not possible. As such I am taking this as a lesson and making a better plan for next year to isolate my late growing crops, so that the rest of my garden can be under cover crops by the end of September/start of October. As for this year, I will leave the field “naked” and plant an early cover crop of buckwheat in the spring.

Garlic planting will come as soon as the field dries out a bit and we can plough and disk – stay tuned!