Sunday, October 24, 2010

Buttoning up the Garden

Slowly over the last couple of weeks we have been getting ready for winter in the garden.  Garlic was sown, strawberry runners were transplanted into the kitchen garden in hopes of actually being able to eat some before the critters do next year, and the lowbush blueberries were also transferred over into the raised beds (which they share with strawberries).  We will cage and net fruit in the raised beds next year. (The three beds pictured below house garlic, strawberries, dahlias, chard, and lowbush blueberries.  The dahlia tubers will be dug for winter after a killing frost.)

We also ripped out the tomatoes and planted the two new apple trees.  Limb cuttings stake the whips, which will be pruned into a double horizontal espalier next year.  We will add in a new bed or two and expand the fencing by spring in attempt to compensate for all the kitchen garden square footage being dedicated to fruit production for 2011.  I may not get full sun in any new beds, but greens will tolerate those conditions so one way or another it will all work out.....I will greatly miss "tomato alley".  It is now "apple alley", with some grow space for shorter crops on either side of the trees.

BEFORE: A newly constructed, newly planted 'tomato alley' back in May of this year:

AFTER: The newly transformed "apple alley" (with some newly propagated red and black raspberry canes heeled in for winter):

We had no choice but to enclose the new apples after learning the hard way this year that one of my dogs likes to eat baby apples off trees.  Sigh, she also likes blueberries and strawberries.   The new location will keep away the canine bandit, leaving us with all of winter to come up with a plan to keep away the rodent, bird, and bug bandits as well.  The raspberries were propagated by sticking growing tips into grow-bags of compost this summer after the potatoes were harvested.  They rooted like crazy and surely didn't appreciate being torn up and out today....fingers crossed I didn't do irreparable damage moving them out of the grow-bags and into containers to bury for winter.

The coldframe was erected, and the greens were hooped and covered today as well.  Here is a side, and bird's eye view of the fall garden:

I think the new bed will be 2 feet wide and run horizontally just in front of the current fence line where the potato grow-bags were all summer (see all the round brown patches?), that is likely my best bet for full sun.


The citrus trees were moved indoors this week, and the little fig
 will be going in the basement for wintering over soon.

I spotted this stranded bumble on a dahlia while I was photographing the garden earlier, I think the dropping temps had it grounded.  I snipped the flower and the bee is inside in a critter cage to be set free in the morning if it survives the night, it has been moving around since being warmed by the house so our fingers are crossed.


I am off to peruse the 2011 catalogs (yes, they are arriving already!)- we are going to plant some more fruit between the road and the shed and see what happens, those newly rooted raspberry canes will hopefully survive the winter and go in over there, along with a gooseberry or two, maybe even some more highbush blueberries if I go really nuts!  ;)  We are stretching our options to the limits in order to capture any more square footage with sun, the area behind the shed gets morning light only, but we are hoping it will be enough to produce fruit.



Engineeredgarden said...

Oh yes, critters can mess up new fruit trees, too. Armadillos dig around the trunk of mine every year. Good idea on protecting them!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Kelly,
You sure have been busy. I love the wider views of your garden. I keep wanting a cold frame or hoop house, but I am not handy, and my husband says he doesn't know how to make them, either. Our big project is going to be digging around the chain link and putting some rabbit fencing around the garden.

I've seen bees asleep on blooms before, at least, that's what I assumed was the reason for them to be still.

Dani said...

Those apple trees are gonna grow great come spring!

Thomas said...

Loving the new apple alley! Dealing with pests in the garden has to be my least favorite activity. If we had more gardening space, I probably wouldn't care so much but one determined squirrel can do so much damage in a small kitchen garden.

Kelly said...

Armadillos!? EG, you and I live in very different regions, I am so thankul to not have to fight off armadillos in the garden too!

CGS- The hoops are wire segments that bend, and then I just have row cover over them for now. When the temps really drop I will add a layer of heavy plastic on top. It is actually a simmple. but effective set-up. :)

Dani- I am sure hoping so!!

Kelly said...

Thomas- maybe I see less damage due to all the woods on our land? This year was far worse than last for me- every sowing for Fall crops was eaten (I think by rabbits)- but I have never seen a squirrel in my garden. Wonder i they are secretly to blame for some of the destruction? Baby chard and seedlings are always snacked on in my garden, but the big mature stuff goes untouched.

Erin said...

Won't the apple trees shade the garden? I love your fence all around, I need to get outside and do some chores soon!

Kelly said...

Erin, they will be running N to S in a linear espalier so they shouldn't shade too badly. Plus in all honesty it will likely be 4 or 5 years before they have enough growth to shade anything anyway......depending on the height of the horizontal runs, they will likely be less tall than my tomatoes.