Urban Homesteading – Fall Garden Clean Up

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt
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My backyard is looking a bit barren since I cleaned out the four raised beds and covered the bare soil with mown grass clippings and leaves. I did leave the nasturtiums that were still blooming. Their vibrant yellow and orange flowers, and large light-green leaves really stand out now that they are not overwhelmed by tall zinnias and pepper plants. In another bed, the lacy, yellow-green fronds of asparagus are still waving. The asparagus did well for the first year, putting up many stalks throughout the summer. It will be hard next year not to cut the spring spears and just let them go to seed — again! In order to develop hardy, productive asparagus crowns, it is recommended that the spears not be harvested for the first two years.

In preparation for next year’s crops, I planted some garlic cloves a few weeks ago. In September, I attended the Maine Organic Farmer’s and Gardener’s Association (MOFGA) Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. What a fabulous three-day event that is, with about 60,000 visitors and hundreds of vendors. I visited with a couple who raise a couple dozen kinds of garlic. They recommended I try three kinds —  all hardneck varieties — Romanian Red, Georgian Crystal and Phillips. I’m anticipating the moment next summer when I can gently dig the heads and sample the different flavors of the garlics.

My last gardening chore is to find a way to protect the lavender I planted on the south side of the house next to the foundation. It’s a great location for heat loving herbs, and they have done well. But I want them to survive the winter. I’m considering cutting the lavender and other herbs back and covering them with upturned flower pots stuffed with leaves for insulation. I’ll let you know how that works.

In the meantime, it soon will be time to peruse the garden catalogs and make lists for next year’s garden. Wishing you a bountiful Thanksgiving!

Photo from Fotolia