Dear Friend and Gardener: End of the Veg Garden

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Gardens allow chattering thoughts to be stilled and memories to unfold.  Scents on the breeze lure the mind back to a time when senses were heightened and joys were sharp.  ~Jane Billinghurst 

 

 

I am thinking back to spring and my hopes for the veg garden.  Dreams really of what would be, and how the garden would produce.  And I am pleased with this year, even with the strange weather and my physical limitations not allowing me to do as much as I wanted.  All in all I would say it was a good harvest and a good garden year.

As I recap the veg garden, I am joining in with Dee Nash for her virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener.  You can see the badge here and on my sidebar.  As Dee says about this new club:

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Carol Michel, Mary Ann Newcomer and I are starting a virtual garden club for everyone growing their own food, flowers or herbs this summer. It’s a fun club. There are no rules except if you grab the badge, please link it back to this page. Here, I will list everyone joining us for our summer adventure of growing our food, flowers and herbs. You are welcome to post once a month if you want. We’d love to see what you’re growing.

 

 

And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

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You can see from the picture above that we still had some tomatoes ripening in early October.  And some Delicata winter squash finally ripened enough to harvest.

 

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These are the last two Cocozelle zucchini squash we harvested on October 17th.  I couldn’t believe they kept flowering and growing.  We did cover them once when there was a mild frost.

 

 

 

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October is garlic planting time.  I usually wait for the third week to plant mine.  And because I rotate crops, I have to plan next year’s veg beds now.  I planted three different varieties of hardneck garlic.

And I found about 15 cloves growing in the old garlic bed (in the picture above).  These were from this year’s garlic crop where we missed cutting the scapes or the scapes fell into the garden bed.  I thought I would plant them in next year’s tomato bed, and see how they grow.

 

 

 

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The last herb to be harvested was the Italian parsley.  It can be hardy sometimes, so I took a few of the plants, cut them back and put them in the squash bed for next year.  I hope they come back.  Then I harvested the rest.  I cut them up with my special herb cutting scissors, put them in an ice cube tray, covered them with olive oil and froze them.  Once frozen we removed them and put them in a freezer bag.  We also froze some leaves by themselves.

 

 

 

indoor herbs

In October, I also bring in herbs to overwinter them under the grow lights in our basement.  I dig up small pieces of perennial herbs sage, lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, oregano, garlic chives and regular chives.  And I bring in a basil, cilantro and Italian parsley plants to try and overwinter as well.  Sometimes I have to restart them from seed.

I also take some cuttings of thyme to get them to root and I bring in my rosemary plants.  We use all these herbs throughout winter.  With the mild winter I am able to use the herbs still growing outside until a killing frost will blacken their leaves for this year.

 

 

 

asparagus

A new addition to the veg bed for next year is asparagus.  I decided to use my round repurposed planter (top right) as I have no other space.  And it was just gathering weeds.  I bought 6 one year old plants, and put them in good composted soil.  They will remain on the patio mulched and waiting for spring.  Not sure if I will be able to harvest anything next spring.  I really love how the foliage glows and the little asparagus look so cute.

I also added a few more young rhubarb plants to one of the beds to overwinter.  I will plant them in spring when I find a suitable spot in the garden.

 

 

 

green pumpkins

I was shocked that my pumpkin plant produced a little green pumpkin, and it looked cute out front for Halloween along with the volunteer plant’s pumpkin that grew huge but green.  Neither had enough time to turn orange before Halloween as they formed so late in the season.  But there is always next year for more pumpkins if I can plant the seed sooner.

My little watermelon that I showed you in the last veg garden post did not grow much bigger than a golf ball as it wasn’t warm enough to develop in October. 

And the carrots I was protecting from the deer, were devoured by the voles.  We have to come up with some preventative measures to keep the voles out of the beds.  I have a few ideas, I will share in a later post. 

 

 

 

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And finally, here are the 5 raised beds (to the right along the fence) covered for the most part with a fresh topping of organic compost and mulched leaves and grass from our non-chemical yard.  The one bed not mulched yet has lots of borage that regrew and is still flowering.  I am waiting until the first killing frost before I mulch the bed and pull some of the plants.  

The covered  area on the patio are the grow bags that did not produce so we will be composting their organic soil into the garden soon.

 

Is your veg bed still producing?  Have you made plans for next year’s veg bed? 

 

 

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As everyone realizes who has ever planted a seed and watched it grow, we cultivate around us, we also cultivate within us.  ~Diane Dreher

 

 

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Visit my new blog: 

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I wanted to thank all the wonderful people who have been visiting my new blog, Living From Happiness, over the past few months.  It is a blog that celebrates life, lessons, change, challenges and creativity.

I post on Sundays and Thursdays.  I do hope you will join me there to read my musings about life on Thursdays, and some original poetry on Sundays, all illustrated by my photography.

 

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Next up on the blog:  

Monday I will have a new series for the winter months profiling some of my favorite annual flowers.  If the weather holds, I will try to do another Stuck Foot post next Wednesday.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 

 

 

56 comments

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Donna, I am looking forward to any tips you have on voles, we have a similar problem here in our veg garden. I still have Chard and Spinach going strong despite a frost and the last of the beetroot was picked this week. I am currently making changes in my veg garden with a view to growing more cut flowers, so no over wintering onions this year.

    • Donna says:

      Oh how lovely to have veggies still…we have frigid temps and snow now. I am trying to figure out how to have more cutting flowers too Julie.

      As far as voles I have an experiment we will be trying in spring with one bed. The voles are snug in my veg beds as we speak…arrrghhh!!!! I need a way to keep them out for good. I’ll let you know more about it as we get closer to spring.

  2. My Little Home and Garden says:

    It must be very gratifying to have a wonderful harvest. It was just tomatoes, a few yellow beans and some herbs mine. Perhaps I need to branch out come spring as the season is finished, the leaves have changed and most have fallen. Lovely photos!

    Karen

    • Donna says:

      Karen I am thrilled when I get my tomatoes and herbs. Everything else is a bonus. And I love the challenge of growing my own. But I think what pushes me to grow more and more is I love the fresh taste of the veggies if the voles or deer don’t get them first. Leaves are now buried by snow here.

  3. Pam's English Garden says:

    Your veg. garden was very productive, Donna. So was mine, considering the setbacks, as you say, of health and weather. It’s great to look back — you must be very gratified. My kitchen garden is still producing onions, beets, parsnips, and can you believe lettuce? It will be interesting to see what the Arctic vortex does later this week. I think I should join your virtual garden club. I’ll check it out. P. x

    • Donna says:

      I am jealous Pam that you still have veggies…You should join in with Dee and the Virtual Garden Club. The vortex has given us our first killing freeze and 8 inches of snow….the garden is covered now.

  4. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    I spent a glorious day out in the garden yesterday Donna and planted my garlic – also three hard neck varieties: German, Riesig and Music. I have managed to clean five of my beds and I also cover them with a thick layer of grass clippings and leaves. I have yet to tackle the horseradish and asparagus – wild! I still have wonderful kale, chard, broccoli rabe and collards. I actually cut and pulled flowering calendula and borage because well, I have to prep the beds! There is still plenty in the pathways. Love all your veggies and herbs. So great that you grow them under lights indoors during the Winter months. I would follow your methods if I weren’t morphing into a snow bird. I am looking forward to fresh citrus!

    • Donna says:

      I am glad you were able to get into your veg garden Kathy as our cold weather is here. Lucky you going South. My husband is not a fan of Florida but I wouldn’t mind wintering on an island!

  5. Aaron Dalton says:

    Didn’t grow many veggies this year.

    The cherry tomato plants are long dead.

    I do still have (self-sown) mustard greens growing in the garden. They’ve survived temps as low as 27 so far. Not sure how they will fare when we get down in the low 20s later this week.

    • Donna says:

      I remember your tomatoes Aaron…it is great when we have veggies that grow wild…unlimited supply. I would love wild mustard. Stay warm…freezing up here and snow now.

      • Aaron says:

        Was just out wandering around the garden.

        I can confirm that mustard greens do not fare so well when temps drop to around 23 F.

        Some small seedling size plants look pretty well cooked.

        The larger plants I think have survived, but with many damaged leaves.

        And so it goes. A learning experience! I’m sure with some protection (hoop house, cold frame, etc.) they could probably thrive down to at least 20 F.

  6. Tina says:

    I’m impressed with your veg production and that you can over-winter so much, even if it is in your basement. I don’t have the space or full sun that I want and need to figure some new spaces out. Today? More pesto will enter the world because my basil is about to have its first (and last, I guess) freeze!!

  7. Angie says:

    Although I personally don’t grow any fruit or veg, I truly appreciate the effort that goes into it.
    I love all that attention you give to over wintering your herbs Donna, if it were me, I’d be tempted to start a fresh each spring. I also think that those beds painted white make such a great feature. Your garden is ever so well planned.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoy my white veg beds although they are PVC so we don’t have to paint them Angie. My perennial herbs will grow again come spring and I will plant many more annual basil, cilantro, parsley etc in the spring as they will peter out by then. But I primarily grow the winter herbs to have them for cooking as everything is covered by snow all winter. The only ones I covet are the white sage and rosemary that I bring in each winter and put out each spring. But once they get older or too big, we end up starting new ones too. I love growing herbs…an easy crop.

  8. Beth says:

    Hi Donna, This was an interesting post. I have enjoyed seeing what you grow, both edibles and nonedibles. I always like seeing the overview (from above) that show much of your garden – it gives me a good feel for its structure. I was wondering why you take in pieces of perennial herbs. Is it because they are tender perennials? I have a large sage plant, lemon balm, and chocolate mint still growing. I’ve pulled the rosemary, parsley, dill, fennel, and anise. Oops, I should have left the parsley as it may have grown back for next year. I’d forgotten that it’s a biennial here. Still blooming in my garden: lamium. Cold weather has arrived. 🙁

    • Donna says:

      Cold weather is now here too Beth. Actually I take in the herbs so I can have them all winter. Once the cold weather comes, many of the perennial herbs will go dormant and/or be covered by snow. So by bringing in cuttings, I can have some herbs to still use all winter. It is also fun being able to tend plants all winter so I can keep my hand in the dirt so to speak!

  9. Dorothy says:

    Very nice photos of your harvest but sorry the critters got to your carrots!
    I just read in our morning paper that our state had a record tomato harvest despite the drought. That came as a surprise! I hope you have a gtrat day!

  10. Anna says:

    It looks as if your fruit and veg garden is most productive Donna. Late harvests are especially pleasing. I’m so glad that I do not have deers and voles to contend with – slugs and snails are enough of a challenge 🙂

  11. Cathy says:

    Lovely post Donna. I have no plans for vegetables, but definitely herbs! I hope I will finally manage to get some parsley to grow for me, as I only grew it in containers this year. Good luck with the measures for detrring voles!

  12. Alison says:

    Hooray that you got a couple of delicatas! I love them, almost as much as butternut. I’ve got my garlic in already. Last year I saved a few cloves and replanted them, but they didn’t do as well as the ones I bought from Territorial. My veggie beds are done for this year.

    • Donna says:

      Alison i cannot wait to grow more Delicata next year, but I need more room I fear. They are the most delicious winter squash I have ever eaten. And the garlic is wonderful to watch as it grows through the leaf mulch and snow which we have already!

  13. Kris P says:

    You made good use of your vegetable garden, Donna. I gave up on mine this year as I had too many other projects to distract me. But maybe I’ll plant some sugar snap peas – I do love them and they usually grow from seed without much trouble.

  14. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    I’m sitting here kicking myself that I didn’t harvest the parsley before the killing frost came…too late by a day. Darn it…

    The ground is now solidly frozen, some silly polar vortex thing. Don’t they know that we gardeners procrastinate all the time?

    Love your zuckie shots…

    Jen

  15. craftygreenpoet says:

    We only have a very small windowsill garden, but there are a couple of ripening tomatoes still on the vine…..

    As to next year, I’m hoping to plant some lettuces and other salad leaves, some coriander or basil and of course more tomatoes….

  16. Cathy Thompson says:

    As Jessica says above, really looking forward to your post about the voles! I have broccoli, carrots (sorry!), kale, cabbages, beetroot and chard still producing, plus haven’t finished my potatoes, onions or pumpkins. We can’t grow tomatoes at all in the open here – they always get the blight! Happy planning for next year (and aren’t you organised with your herbs, lots of ideas there!)

    • Donna says:

      Outstanding Cathy to still have veggies. I have to grow hybrid tomatoes here because of blight. I’ll have more info on my ideas to combat voles in the coming months.

  17. Donna says:

    Not thinking of next year yet, but did just bring in the herbs to winter inside the kitchen. October was not late for vegetables with the warm weather we had and it was even in the 60’s a few days ago here in November. Today, snow flurries came, so more tender plants made their way indoors.

    • Donna says:

      We are just a bit cooler here Donna and a couple of light frosts that ended a lot of veggies or the voles ended them in October. Our November was cold here despite no frost, freeze and one day of 60…we were in the 40s most days which is below normal. And now our first freeze came yesterday with 8 inches of snow. But we adjust. Snowing again today. Stay warm!

  18. ramblingwoods says:

    I am glad that you were able to get as much done as you did given the surgery and recovery. I am planning for next year, but not veg. I never thought of putting grass clippings in the bed. We had so many leaves this year from the 5 trees in the back and the 2 in the front and so many of them are horrible norway maple leaves.. Yuck and it is by the street so it belongs to the town or I could take it out…Michelle

  19. nicole says:

    Look at all of the veggies you harvested! What a great idea to over winter your herbs! I should have done more of that though in our area our basil really fell flat for many gardeners this season. What an outstanding crops you had! And we produced a green pumpkin too! Happy gardening to you! Nicole xo

    • Donna says:

      Oh too bad about the basil…a few years ago we had a basil blight that was awful. Isn’t it great when you can grow something like pumpkins Nicole. Ours has now turned orange as it has been sitting outside…I love it!

  20. Island Threads says:

    you should be pleased Donna, you have done well with your veggies and how organised to have the beds mulched ready for winter, the voles you have are a real pest, they seem worse than some of the big pests, I have read to try putting the prunings from prickly plants around helps, above and below ground, I put chaenomeles prunings around plants the rabbits had eaten and they didn’t get eaten any more, I know it could be coincidence,
    I still have crops growing, as we have winters where the temperatures barely dip below freezing I did some research into crops that provide winter food and/or over winter, I posted my current veg a few days ago, Frances

    • Donna says:

      I will have to look at the idea of prickly plants Frances I am glad you can grow veggies longer in your climate. It is something good to look forward to…here we now have snow.

  21. Nadezda says:

    Donna, I know how dangerous are voles. And we did this: have put the metal net on the bottom of veggie beds and no voles no moles!
    You had pretty nice harvest of veggies and greenness. Water melon is not easily to grow, it needs many days of high temps.
    Happy weekend!

    • Donna says:

      Nadezda that is one of my thoughts, and perhaps using chicken wire around the bottoms as well. Glad to know it has worked for you. It will mean that we have to empty our veg beds so we are still thinking about what we will do.

  22. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I think you did amazingly well in your veg garden given the year you’ve had. I must bring some chives indoors for winter use, I keep forgetting. We are still picking the occasional tomato, but time I cleared the plants and replaced them with salad leaves for use over winter. All looking very tidy in your patch now Donna. Ready for the snow, I suppose, though I hope your winter is a little gentler than last year.

    • Donna says:

      I have grown a bit of lettuce indoors under lights but it is not the same so how wonderful you can grow it in winter.

      As for our winter, it has started abruptly on Friday. No autumn frost or freeze just frigid temps in the 20s and 8 inches of snow. It is supposed to snow a bit daily and we should receive about another 6 inches early this week. If we had our normal highs of around 50 we would be getting rain but we are in the midst of that horrible Polar Vortex instead. I am not sure what this will mean for our extended winter except it is supposed to be very cold, but I am trying to keep a positive thought here…so thanks for your positive thoughts too Janet.

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