Winter descends and we wrap up the gardenAfter a quiet night and deep sleep, I woke to snow on the corners of the Silo’s northern windows. Stomping out a path as I completed my morning chores, the thrill of early season snowflakes complemented the otherwise simple tasks at hand. Looking ahead to the days’ work, the to-do list was considerably altered thanks to the blanket of fresh snow. Dirt was suddenly inaccessible. 

Except in one place: D Acres’ upper hoop house. 

I’d been saving the weeding and mulching of these beds for just such an occasion. The plastic covering proffered dry, unfrozen soil, and housed plenty of weeds to pull. I loaded a collection of garden tools into the lightest wheelbarrow we have and began the uphill slog. The snow was heavy. Wet. Dense. I pulled the wheelbarrow behind me, sweating as I crested the hill to the upper fields. 

Using my foot as a shovel, I freed the door and slithered inside. While it was certainly a grey day under the falling snowflakes, the interior of the hoop house was thoroughly immersed in shadow. The early snow must have slid from the plastic during the night, piling up along the building’s sides while the more recent snow continued to accumulate on the plastic covering. The faint suggestion of sunlight in the morning sky did little to penetrate the hoop house’s interior. 

Furthermore, the once jungle-like verdure had been replaced with the skeletons of eggplants and tomato vines. A few clover flowers and a handful of late-season greens were the only vibrancy amongst beds of dead annuals and dying weeds. Still, it was dry and unfrozen.  Garden fork in hand, I set about the task. 

Which entailed a variety of jobs. First, tomato and eggplant plants — belonging to the nightshade family — were pulled from the ground, bundled up and carried to a pit in the woods. Nightshades are toxic in quantity, thus we avoid feeding them to the animals. These plants are also prone to harboring diseases. Fear of the consequences keeps us from adding the foliage to compost piles. If the compost failed to reach adequately high temperatures, we could be facing a problematic situation. 




mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE