Sunday, October 25, 2015

State of the Garden

Fall-the time to review how the garden fared, what worked and what didn't. This was the end of a full 12 months with cover crops. I definitely liked the fall sown oats and daikon radish. You could barely tell there was anything planted in the bed by the time spring rolled around.  The radishes especially left no trace of their presence after the winter freezes and snows. The crimson clover didn't do so well over the winter. And I am still sold on using buckwheat as an interim planting for ground that might be bare for a few weeks otherwise.

Not so great was the winter rye. Waiting until pollen shed to cut the rye, then waiting 2 weeks for the roots to begin deteriorating allowed too many weeds to become entrenched. I don't think I will be planting anymore rye.

I will definitely continue to have a bed used for composting garden waste. Right now I have two beds of finished compost, one bed now cooking, and one bed being built. The soil under the two finished beds of compost looks beautiful and should grow great veggies next year.

I am lucky to have access to a good amount of sheep manure and some chicken manure from my own animals. Knowing what they have been fed and how they have been treated makes me comfortable using their manure to fertilize the garden. We also have a yard vac which shreds the leaves and mixes them with grass clippings.  So I have various beds treated differently. Four beds have fall sown oats, two have daikon radishes. Some of the beds have garden compost and others have composted sheep manure. And some beds have shredded leaves/grass clippings along with manure.

Spike the cat likes to keep me company in the garden.  He is sitting in one of the old compost beds. Directly above him is a bed of oats, then the leek bed (which did really well this year), then another oat bed, then beets, parsnips, the old thai pepper bed now covered with sheep manure, then carrots.  In the background, beyond the little white fencing, is the large double bed of daikon radishes.

I read somewhere that chicken bedding used as mulch on garlic grows the best bulbs. I had the perfect chicken bedding to use so we'll see how the garlic does. I used shredded leaves last year and the garlic didn't do so well. I am not sure if that was the shredded leaves or the drought, although I did try to water that bed fairly regularly. 

Fall is my favorite time in the garden. So many possibilities for next year and the weeds are mostly dead. Having the oats with their bright green color makes the garden seem so alive and ready to grow.

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