Putting the Fall Garden to Bed

 Putting Away the Fall Garden

We had our first freeze last week so there were quite a few chores in putting away the fall garden. Herbs and vine crops needed harvesting. Some of the root crops were dug up. Vines were added to the lasagna and compost piles. Borders were created for beds.

Harvesting Herbs

The first thing I did was choose which of the herbs I was going to pick and dry. The basil was a given. It is a tender herb which means it is not frost tolerant. I picked one of two bushes which did not show signs of bolting. In my experience, basil acts somewhat like spinach at the end of the season. The leaves begin to narrow and become pointy. This in addition to the flowering indicate the annual plant has run its course.

I turned the basil upside down and placed it inside a paper bag. Using a string, I have the bag hanging to dry. I am also drying some thyme and oregano with this method. Both these herbs are perennials and so they can be harvested most of the winter. But I use both frequently in my cooking. Thus, I won’t have to go without if snow covers the plants.

Fall Garden Harvest

Second I harvested all tomatoes of a decent size. The green tomatoes will  turn red inside the house or they can be pickled. We extend our fresh tomato season by a few weeks by letting them ripen on the counter.

Fall Bounty
Final tomatoes

Sweet potatoes, beets and the remainder of the potatoes were dug. Unfortunately most of my root crops were small in physical size this year. The yield was not large either. Perhaps the hail damage to the foliage had a greater impact on these crops than I realized.

I was gifted some lumber scraps and I made a raised bed area for a new blackberry bush. I also edged the asparagus bed with the lumber so there will be no accidental mowing of the young crop next spring.
Finally, I pulled the vines and plants from the ground. Most looked very healthy still and those were added to either the compost bin or to the new “lasagna” bed I am working on. A few had evidence of either bugs and eggs or disease. Those plants found their way to the trash can.

I still have a few more chores to complete. Carrots remain in the ground. Hoses will need to be put away for the winter. A reorganization of garden tools is a must. I will plant the last of the garlic this week since temperatures will return to the eighties. But my time in the garden is beginning to wind down which means more time will be available for the quilt room.