09-14-2013   Leave a comment

It’s time today for a little catch-up on my journal.  In just a few short weeks the Maine weather has gone from extreme heat and humidity to extreme cold and a couple of nights with a fear of frost.  It’s a little early for this temperature change but you have no choice but to adjust. 

I spent a few hours yesterday beginning the process of clearing plants from the garden for removal to the compost pile.  I was surprised by how many cucumbers and cherry tomatoes I was able to salvage.  I ended up with almost a dozen good sized cucumbers that were hidden amongst the plants and a at least a hundred cherry tomatoes that were still green but will ripen over the next week or so.  It’s never fun taking the garden down at the end of the season but it has to be done and can require a large time investment.

I removed the sprinkler systems and the hoses and all of the hot pepper and squash plants.  I left the beans, lettuce, and snap peas alone because they don’t mind the cold weather too much and are are still producing.  Another week or so and they’ll be gone too.

The leaves are falling from the trees already and you can’t walk through the yard without running into squirrels and chipmunks with their mouths stuffed with nuts and acorns. They aren’t even running from us anymore.  Their primary interest right now is to store away as much as they can as quickly as they can.  Funny, that’s exactly the same thing my better-half and I are doing as well.

Once all of the plant material has been removed from the frames I can begin the soil preparation for next year.  I’ll first rototill the ground and then cover the entire garden with three or four inches of compost.  Then I’ll spread a little lime into the soil with a generic fertilizer, rototill it a second time and call it a day.  I’ll let it set all winter and in the spring it should be ready to go. I’m hoping to have everything finished by the end of September so I won’t get surprised by good old Mother Nature who loves nothing more than dropping an early snow storm on us.

We spent some time the other night discussing changes to next years garden and the choice of items we plan on planting.  It’s an ever-changing process as we learn more about the plants and the amount of production we can expect.  It’s all of this prep work that makes the garden a success year after year and  it’s time well spent and worth the effort.

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