Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The last of my summer gardens...

It looks like the beauty of summer is soon going to be the frost and snow of winter in my area, southwestern Maine.
This is the last rose of summer, Noble Anthony, a David Austin English rose, starting to blossom. All my other roses have finished their blooming. When Anthony opens just a bit more I'll cut it and bring it inside to enjoy for another week. If I leave it outside, it's sure to turn brown in the cold nites expected in a couple of days.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer of beauty from their gardens. Those with veggies, I hope you are enjoying your bounty. Tonite I'll be making fresh hash browns from my own homegrown potatoes. They seem to have a better taste. Maybe its their freshness, having not been stored in a warehouse for months.
Would you believe I'm already planning next year's raised veggie beds? This time I'll plant each of my 9 beds (4' x 4') with only one or two types of plants. I think it will be much better in their maintenance, watering needs, and better for rotating plants the following year. I'll also stick with the veggies we enjoyed best this year.
Four of the beds have been composted and I need to start another compost bin for next spring to compost the others.
I have several bags of dry leaves set aside and lots of greenery from the beds to chop up to add to the compost.
I still look forward to radishes, lettuce and Swiss chard planted recently and only the radishes are showing any growth. A few red mini cabbages are left to head up.
This has been my first year trying Square Foot Gardening, and though I love the method, I should have kept the varieties in the same beds for easier care. Unfortunately, a beginner, I put a little of this and a little of that in each bed. The watering needs differed as did the general care as to sunshine, shade, etc. Next year should find my bounty improved and my work less.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Its autumn in Maine and that means overcast skies over the mtns and color in the leaves, nites in the 40s, sometimes 30s.
The road to our house is blazing with red, orange, and gold beauty.

Its the season when our mums are prolific and beautiful.

This long view of my 9 raised beds shows a pretty bedraggled state. Most crops have been harvested. In the two left front beds I've now planted radishes, lettuce and Swiss chard hoping for a longer harvest. I have to cover both beds at night to prevent frost damage but the days are ok. In the 50s or high 40s right now. I have to pull the rest of the dead and dying plants and chop them up for the compost. I have also raked up 5 bags of dead leaves which I shall hoe into the beds and chop them in and cover them over for winter. This weekend I hope to get my grandson to help fill several more bags of leaves for this purpose. They should help feed the soil for next year.

This is the last Early Jersey Wakefield cabbages that I harvested last nite, Oct. 14th.

This is the last eggplant harvested 2 days ago.

The last zucchini was also harvested 2 days ago.

My veggie beds have lots of fall color from the marigolds I planted in the left corner of each bed to repel insects. I think it did its work, except for the Japanese beetles which attacked my sugar snap peas.

Nasturtiums in the right front corners also helped repel insects. I'll be planting them again next year.
I've enjoyed my first year of gardening. Next year I plan to allot only one or 2 veggies per raised bed. I think it will make my gardening chores easier and also better for crop rotation the following year.