We've been in the neighborhood for over a month. In that time, the most I've been able to do in the garden is make sure it gets watered and to pick the fruit and vegetables. I avoided weeding because I'm not familiar with all the local plants, and I was hesitant to pull some of the prettier plants. Turns out some of the ones I left are called velvetleaf; a noxious, invasive weed. So this weekend I spent six hours digging it out and bagging it up so my neighbors don't get windblown velvetleaf seeds. With the ban on backyard burning, I'll have to haul them to the dump.
When I finally finished weeding, I planted my first cold season garden. I went to Hungry Mother Organics in Minden and talked to Nancy. She was super helpful and I ended up with three different lettuces, three cabbages and two broccoli starts to plant.
I also bought four feet of row cover - also known as frost cover. I have one raised bed that has high, sloped sides. Right now it's got netting and wire over it to keep out the rabbits, but I'm going to install some PVC piping and sew three sleeves into the frost cover fabric to create a protective curtain for my seedlings. I can see it in my head, but implementing it could be tricky.
In addition to weeding and planting, I also separated all my strawberry plants. The bigger runners I planted in the bed and covered with straw. The smaller ones my son and I potted to let them grow over the winter. Then I dug up a lot of the raspberry runners and replanted those. If anyone wants strawberry or raspberry plants, come on over.
We picked carrots, beets, corn and potatoes this weekend, but it's still not time to pick the pears. I've had a few windfalls and picked a couple to test, but I've been holding off for the first cold weather to get that crisp sweetness that only a good frost brings.
The other thing I need to do is get my sprinkler system ready for winter. Since it stays hot in the daytime, the trees will still need water through most of the winter. Dell says she never winterized because the pipes are below frost line, but I hear this may be a tough winter, so I'll add irrigation systems to my list of things I need to learn.
Next week we're expecting our first batch of chicks, so stay tuned for more adventures in farming at the Brier Patch. And as always, let me know if you have news or notes or events - or just come sit on the porch with us; you'll find us there for all the sunsets, though I'll be wearing a sweater.
Reach Karen Brier at RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com, or 790-0072.