Preparing Your Garden for Fall and Winter

Tips to prepare your garden for the fall and winter from the ThriftyFun community. Post your ideas!

Bringing In The Harvest

Right now we are just concentrating on getting as much of the garden produce in the house as possible. Frost threatens tonight! The house is filled with boxes, enamel basins, and even pots and pans full of vegetables and fruit. It's hard to keep up with it and still work at my job. (I think it's fun to put up food in jars and share it with friends; not work). My husband feeds the corn stalks to the cows. By this time the pasture is pretty sparse, and they can really gobble them up. It's fun to watch them start at one end and just keep munching the sweet stalks until they get to the other end! They have already eaten the pea vines and bean vines.

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Jim brought in the eggplants, and I commented that they hadn't had time to turn purple yet. He laughed at me and said they were a new variety he was trying, called "Green Apple." (blush) Most of our tomatoes are green, too, but they will turn color! I will can them as they ripen. We are eating so many raw vegetables right now, knowing that in winter they will become a costly luxury. Once the garden has been cleared out, Jim will spread manure and straw from our calf pens and then turn it under with the rototiller. After that, it's up to the weather and the season to fill it with snow and let the stinky stuff break down.

In spring, he will till it once again, and then carefully measure and mark the rows. The soil is full of humus after 24 years of tillage and enriching. I don't know how folks feed their gardens without cows. You can only turn so much compost. But then, not everyone raises a quarter acre of veggies plus fruit trees and berries. They probably have more sense than we have. :-)

By coreenhart

Composting Leaves And Other Seasonal Tips

In Texas, we still have a full month before our first frost is expected, perhaps even two. However, very soon the rainy season here begins and lasts about 6 weeks, then leaves will begin turning to all lovely shades, and most folks wait to rake until the last one falls off the trees.

I watch the street gutters carefully for lawn service men to blow all leaves from other yards my way, which mixes with dust and water making a wonderful addition for the compost! I get the last laugh, even though they don't necessarily do the blowing on purpose, it just works out that way because I'm on a corner of three other homes with lawn service and I must do my own, without leaf/grass blowing.

I trimmed crepe myrtle branch ends and dead twigs throughout the tree and reaped a last huge fall blossom time as they wind down to dormancy for winter. I've got a chance for one last application of coffee grounds to the two types of grass, which is dense and green again except where the grub worms are, which need milky spore to eliminate them that I cannot afford. Oh well, I'll deal with the damage next spring.

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I pull what weeds I can after each rain when they perk way up as if begging to be pulled. I sweep sidewalks/patio, wishing I could bleach them, but money and water restrictions forbid it. (My standards are going lower with each passing year!) I need also to repair bent storm windows, cover exterior door frame cracks with found wood/and paint them.

I've cut and stacked dead limbs for firewood to add over stacks of junk mail to burn in the firepit. I've trimmed dead branches for healthy shrubs and trees, fertilized evergreens with coffee grounds.

I'm preparing the few large house plants for their first few visits inside at signs of temps below 55 degrees since most are tropicals.

I finished hunting down all pools of collected water to minimize mosquitos, collecting lots of plastic bottles and jugs for watering winter garden. I'm checking all bird houses/baths for repairs and cleaning.

I lost a few herbs to too much rain recently. I have new growth on rose branches. I'll wait until February to prune them. Need to remember to shape/trim all 20 boxwood shrubs back to 3' balls in the spring, not fall. I have wasp houses to clean out (tiny bird house designed).

I need to pot any remaining plants to give to friend for over-wintering in university greenhouses.

Trying to cut down all tree saplings each month, but not keeping up. I'm regretting not being able to take pictures of so many of our blooms this year, especially of many colors of crepes.

Need to divide five colors of two and three-tone irises, prune 8'x4' agave plant and it's offspring more into tree-shapes, if possible.

Cleaned fiberglass multitiered fountain out. Hoping to harvest more dandelions for the bunny and clover for us this fall. Soil appears to be "much" more healthy.

City mulch applied just in time before they ran out. I need to prune two wrist-sized broken branches on Bradford pear trees and spray with tree paint before the branches get sick. Buckling down all cabinet/closet doors.

Meantime, I'm getting my covered car top carriers ready, reviewing my seed plans, waiting for the Society garlic to go to seed, harvesting blooms/freezing, inquiring of readers about best cooking advice for hyacinth beans, cleaning up all non-garden items: tools, storage bins, lawn chairs covered, umbrella tightened down, dead stalks of veggies cut/composted, swim toys/pool/bikes, etc.

Best wishes for good holidays to come in which we can show our love and gratitude to other family members, neighbors and God for whatever He has given us and allowed us to use for a time.

By Lynda

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