This afternoon, I mulched the rest of my plot with marsh hay. I also harvested some chard and kale and now have only some chard and leeks growing. I plan to overwinter most of my leeks. The plot is now ready for winter.
This afternoon, I finished cleaning up my plot and raked some well-rotted manure into the soil. Almost ready for winter now. Over the next few weeks, I still will harvest the remaining chard and kale plus a few of the biggest leeks, but will let most of those overwinter.
Today, I planted garlic and shallots. First, I cleaned out the tomato, marigold, squash and basil plants and weeded the plot (or three quarters of it before it got too dark). I scaled down my garlic amount (to 12 hardnecks and 15 softnecks) because as an empty-nester, I sadly don’t need 60 heads a year anymore. I am also trying my luck with shallots for the first time. I planted 12 shallots, each of them should yield 4 to 12 shallots. I mulched with the last mini straw bale Allendale Farm had for sale. There are quite a few seed heads in the straw (I think it was from the Halloween decor section), so I am bracing myself for some intense weeding next year.
Today, I cleaned up my back porch. It is not completely ready for winter but almost. A couple of weeks ago, I brought the rosemary plants inside and moved the lavender to the back hallway to overwinter. I will also overwinter the sage in the back hallway but toss the thyme. There are still flowering cosmos stalks in some containers on the porch, and I will need to do a final sweep after the maple lost all its leaves. And I plan to cover the folding table during the winter, but I currently still us it. I still have nasturtiums and parsley growing. Once everything has died back, I plan to cover the soil in the larger containers with pine branches to deter the blue jays from burying their peanuts and acorns (I currently deter them from making their usual mess by sticking barbecue skewers in the soil of the empty containers). I am looking forward to sitting on the bench with a cup of tea and a warm blanket enjoying the afternoon sun on warmer days.
The night temperatures are expected to dip into the low thirties tonight, so I harvested all my squash (or whatever was left of it after two thefts over the past couple months). Three butternut squash and three honeynut squash. Sadly, no Delicata squash this year. The butternuts are slightly under-ripe, but I hope they will be okay. I also harvested some chard. Still growing in the garden are chard, kale, leeks and one butternut squash. I plan to clean up my plot and plant garlic and shallots this weekend.
Yesterday, I harvested the lemongrass on my back porch. Back in June, I had purchased a pack of lemongrass at the supermarket and rooted two of the stalks in water for a couple of weeks (the other stalks did not have enough stem left to root) before I planted them in a container. To harvest, I first cut the leaves off, about two inches below where they were branching off the stem. The leaves are super sharp, so wearing gloves was a must.
I then took the outer leaves off, separating the inner greener parts from the outer somewhat drier leaves.
I washed both sets of leaves and left them to dry overnight on a kitchen towel. The leaves are not as razor-sharp and easier to work with if they wilt a bit overnight. I then harvested the stalks and cleaned them as well.
This morning, I made the leaf bundles. Those will be used for tea and to flavor soups.
I am very happy with this little back porch experiment and can’t wait to use the lemongrass in the kitchen. It smelled to good! I will grow (more!) lemongrass again next year and also try to grow ginger.
I picked the last of my tomatoes today – a handful of green Ailsa Craig. All my tomato plants are done for the season now. I picked one last larger tomato (a Dr. Wyche’s Yellow), that will ripen on the counter. I turned the green ones into a small batch of pickled green tomatoes. Those are so good on sandwiches (with sharp cheddar, apple slices and coarse mustard, inspired by City Feed’s Farmers Lunch sandwich).