Saturday, October 24, 2020

Planting Garlic, Putting Garden “To Bed”

 Saturday, 10/24/20

After taking two Saturdays off because of rain, stewards returned today to begin the process of putting the garden to bed. A week ago several stewards planted garlic cloves in a prepared bed, adding a small amount of fertilizer, minerals and lime. Then the bed was covered with compost, straw and a floating row cover to keep the friendly squirrels from digging up our hard work!

Today’s task was to cut off tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant, chop the stalks (except mildewed squash leaves went in the trash), and then return these as a cover for the soil. Next week we will add some minerals, lime, oak leaves, and straw. Finally we cover beds with burlap. This method of putting the garden to bed allows the soil bacteria to continue to work over the winter to break down nutrients and make them available for plants in the spring.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Fall Garden Prep, October 3,2020

 Today we began preparing one of our beds for winter planting and the rest for “going to bed” for the winter. We did a deep soil loosening and added rabbit poo in the bed which will be planted soon with onions. For the rest of the beds we began pulling out dead stalks and weeds. We plan to sweeten the soil with lime before covering with straw and burlap. Northwest soils tend to be quite acidic, which is why we add the lime. In the early spring we will add fertilizer. It is best to add fertilizer in the spring because water soluble nutrients like nitrate and phosphate will leach out with winter rains and be lost. Final harvests this week included summer squash, figs and tomatoes. A heavy blanket of straw and burlap will keep down weeds and add organics to the soil as they decompose over the winter. Next week we will harvest our winter squash. Steward Deb is a dynamite weeder and harvester!