Juniper and River were both sleeping inside as Jay puttered around the house, so I seized the moment by taking solitary refuge in the garden. We have had a handful of cold, hard frosts now as fall makes way for winter. What a wonderful way to spend my Thanksgiving, working outside on the homestead to clean up leaf piles, pull the remains of the growing season, fill the compost bins and rake the pathways clean.
I collected each and every rotten tomato from the raised beds to prevent “volunteers” from sprouting next season. Then I tackled the rangy vines that had blackened from the cold, taking care to shake off any loose soil into the bed. The wheelbarrow was filled to brim as I tossed it all into our compost bins.
The neighborhood squirrels and cats would love to still use our garden beds for their own use – burying walnuts for the squirrels and as a litterbox for the cats. I reattached the bird netting to the top of two beds, which only have a handful of cold-hardy crops growing, plus a few last carrots and beets to harvest. That keeps the critters out, but lets the sunlight and rains in.
The other two beds are packed more densely with winter crops – spinach, kale, beets, fava beans, leeks and arugula. They won’t grow much with this cold weather, so I covered them with greenhouse plastic. That will keep the vegetables a bit warmer and hopefully encourage more growth so we can eat them through the winter.
There is something just magical about being in the garden at this time of year. It’s so peaceful and so serene. If you look hard enough, you will see little glimpses of life in the tiniest corners. It restores my spirit and fills me with a sense of hope and wonder. Happy Thanksgiving friends.