There is a changing of the guard going on outside in the garden. The change is most evident in the powdery mildew creeping across the vegetable patch, telling our plants that it’s time to close up shop for the season. Powdery mildew can affect plants in the prime of summer as well, most often if you are watering at night and that moisture is left to sit on the plant leaves too long. But this time of year, it seems inevitable and helps break down all that plant matter that goes back into the soil to feed the microorganisms.

I have a few beets and carrots hanging on for dear life in my garden patch, yet I find myself reluctant to pick them. That would mean the end of those crops for this season. That would mean bare patches in the soil!

Typically at this time of year I have spent many months managing a yard packed with fruit trees and shrubs and something edible in every corner of my garden. When Fall comes around, I usually feel ready to throw in the towel, straightening up debris and getting things ready for a winter slumber. This year I don’t feel ready for the garden work to end. Instead I’m plotting which cover crops will be planted and which winter crops I will try to grow. The folks over at the Urban Farm are a good reminder for me that the season is not over, unless you want it to be, as they are still planting all kinds of starts.

If you live in the NW, here is a helpful link I discovered on Fall & Winter vegetable gardening, through the Oregon State Extension Service. I don’t think I will use any cloche or cold frame methods this year, since I’m only living in this house through next Spring. Despite that, I think I’ll try my luck with parsnip, onion, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and maybe brussel sprouts (which I have yet to succeed at growing). This list is perhaps a little ambitious, but I already have most of the seeds so what the hell.

Meanwhile, my chicken adventures continue, I am experimenting with new compost methods, and school started last week. Things are so incredibly busy, but I need that precious time in the garden lest I go insane. Have any plans to keep sanity in the garden this winter? What are you planting?

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Written by Renee Wilkinson