Happy Garlic Ready for the Snow

Friday, November 12, 2010

Apollo and the Harvest Moon

Farm/Garden Tasks this month:

- get the last of the winter greens and baby roots sown

- plant 3000+ bulbs

- get the garlic and winter onions in

- sow cover crop in old summer beds

- start planning seed and deciduous tree/vine orders

The harvest moon has come and gone, we’ve howled and rolled pumpkins and soon the last of the winter crops will be in the ground. Apollo and Gremlin (our farm cats) seem more inclined to sleep on a blanket inside than in the shade outside, some wood smoke is drifting around the mountains, and the artichokes are starting to leaf out.

Sure signs that it is time to plant bulbs, get the winter cover crop in the ground, reflect, plan and prepare for the departure and eventual return of Persephone.

The coming months are a special time for the gardener, as plant growth slows down because of cooler temperatures and decreasing sunlight, our tasks too can slow. The pressure created during the bottlenecks of the past few months lets off.

With the cooler weather and fall moisture of the last few weeks, new windows of opportunity are opening. The soil is soft and digable, and the coming months are going to be perfect conditions for perennial plants to get their roots established, thereby setting them up for great success next spring and summer. With a little thought given to the seasonal rhythms gardening success can be so much easier to achieve, giving you greater returns for your energy.

By all means pack those beds with winter veggies, but if you want a beautiful low maintenance option, as well as one which provides winter erosion control/cover, habitat creation, and a cheap and easy shot of fertility and organic matter (again, beautiful!) a cover crop is the way to go. I use such things as field peas, bell beans, oats, , rye, and vetch to give me a winter cover and fertility boost. Without it, soil erodes and there is no improvement in structure or fertility (actually a decrease). Soil is alive and depends on its interaction with roots to keep it so. Not growing in the soil will actually harm it. So if you want great tomatoes next summer put in some cover crop now!