The Garden October 2014

I keep hearing myself and others say that they can’t believe it’s October already. September was a really long month, but it flew by in a flash. Work was extremely busy so I was putting in long days and I’ve been trying to keep up with the garden, writing blog posts, ensuring the house is in a livable condition and all of the other life things. I love to cook but I found myself just throwing together easy and quick stand-bys all month. Oh and I also decided somewhere along the line that I could knit a sweater as well as a few holiday gifts. Idiot.

I don’t want the season to end, but I will say that sometimes caring for the garden when the season is coming to a close after a long and stressful day at work can be a bit of a burden. Do I really want to water my garden after working an 11 hour day? Not really. But on the other hand, after I’m outside for even a minute, I can see myself becoming calm and relaxed. I once read an interview with Scott Weiland (former Stone Temple Pilots singer – I just totally dated myself) who talked about how gardening and knitting helped him overcome drug addiction. So needless to say, gardening and knitting are unbelievably therapeutic and both myself and Scott Weiland are living proof.

October is a weird month for me – most of the vegetables have been harvested and preserved and many of the perennials are expiring. This time of year always puts me into a state of mourning – mourning the loss of this year’s garden that I worked so hard on and preparing for the dark and cold season ahead. It sounds so depressing – and it is, to an extent. But I also feel relief because I can just let go, but also feel excitement towards planning for the next season – I believe this is what keeps us gardeners going during those dreadful months.

So how about enough of the depressing talk and instead you look at some photos of the garden right now.


Most of the raised beds and pots are cleared but a few things remain – I’ve left the carrots in for now because they don’t mind frost, same with the kale and other brassicas (better picture of those below). You may or may not notice that my neighbor’s tree has bent over into my yard quite a bit – this is a result of the heavy snowfall we had a few weeks ago (heavy snow + full leaves + my hops using the tree as a trellis = very heavy branches). It may or may not straighten itself out over time but I don’t mind too much because it isn’t a safety hazard and I tend to refrain from complaining about my neighbors when it comes to property lines because I know that a few of my plants cross the lines quite frequently (I’m looking at you hops!). I try my best to prevent this and not be a terrible neighbor – I would never intentionally plant something that I knew would spread to my neighbor’s yard and I always make a point to talk to my neighbors about my trespassing plants. Luckily my gardening neighbor always has the same response “Oh, I don’t care!”, but I guess I have a fear of angering people.


The garlic was planted last weekend! I went with old faithful Russian Red again. I planted it in the ground between two raised beds where I planted lettuces this year. When I did some re-arranging of raised beds a couple of years ago, I intentionally left a wider walking path between the beds so that I could have some room to plant in ground – this has turned out to be the perfect solution for perennial herbs and garlic.


I’m so glad I got too lazy to rip out the brassica bed after the cabbage looper mass murder. I haven’t seen another caterpillar since and the plants have come back fairly strong, growing new healthy leaves with two of the plants producing heads. I know I said that I hadn’t had any success with broccoli and cauliflower in the past and that this was a failed experiment and I wouldn’t try again, but I’m happy to say that I was completely wrong. Sometimes there is light at the end of the tunnel full of caterpillar carcasses.

I have a feeling that the next time you see the full garden, it will be covered in a blanket of white. Sigh. What does your garden look like right now? Are you still harvesting?

One more thing: I know a lot of people follow blogs on Facebook, so I recently created a page for my blog where I will post status updates, links to new blog posts, as well as anything else I feel like subjecting my followers to, so please like Carrots & Raspberries on Facebook!

The Garden is Dying

After last week’s summer winter storm, the garden took a bit of a hit. The damage wasn’t totally apparent until this last weekend when the snow had melted away and the sun had come out. There was a leftover patch of snow in front of my greenhouse this morning, reminding me that it’ll be back soon “Don’t get too comfortable!”.

The nights are supposed to be warmer which means I brought the poor potted tomatoes out from the greenhouse again – they’d been shoved on the floor where they were getting no direct sunlight, but at least they weren’t frozen. Maybe they’ll have a chance of ripening outdoors unlike all the other tomatoes that were harvested green a little over a week ago (some are very slowly ripening in the house).

But as for the rest of the garden, it is a mixed bag. We cleaned out three beds completely on the weekend – the raised bed that had corn, squash, beans and a couple of tomato plants, the galvanized steel livestock tank that had the indeterminate tomatoes, and the little in-ground bed that I had planted lettuces and marigolds. A few pots were cleaned out that contained the dead corpses of squash and some annual flowers like dahlia, morning glory, coreopsis, and nasturtium. I could have just left the dead plants in place, but frankly it was depressing.


The good news is that there were a lot of troopers that did survive and will continue on until real winter hits, such as kale, beets, carrots, some herbs and the broccoli and cauliflower I was supposed to pull out but got too lazy. That’s right – the caterpillar damaged crop is still in place and actually doing pretty well. I haven’t seen another caterpillar since I destroyed the population back in August. And wouldn’t you know it, there are actually heads growing! I guess laziness pays off sometimes.


The rest of the damage was a result of the weight of the snow. Quite a few of my perennials are nearly flat on the ground and won’t bounce back this year. My columnar aspen trees were not looking so columnar, so we used Velcro ties to try to get the branches back in place.


Sadly the season is coming to an end and much earlier than I would like. The rest of September will be spent slowly harvesting the remaining crops, tending the greenhouse, and cleaning up the yard as plants expire. Since we are living out of a mini-fridge for now, I will probably spend a day in the near future canning beets.

I’ve already noticed that I’m spending a lot more time indoors and my trips to the garden are a lot more brief – the weeds have slowed down and I haven’t had to do much watering besides a can here and there to the greenhouse. As for outdoor projects, those are pretty much done for the year – I do still have the bottom side of my wheelbarrow to paint, but that is pretty much it. And the indoor projects are beginning again – knitting (time to start holiday gifts), updating my Etsy shop, doing a few minor updates around the house, cleaning the basement (thank you community association for hosting the annual free garbage day!), and pumping myself up to finish the powder room we renovated back in May. Let’s hope I have a few more weeks to enjoy the garden before I really settle myself in for the winter.