I don’t know about you, but I always welcome the end of summer garden chores and food preservation. Saying farewell to the general busyness of keeping up with it all feels like a relief. Sure, I’m sad to say goodbye to sandals, shorts, and tomatoes. But I’m also ready for the kale (kale, kale, and some more kale) our northwest climate offers in abundance.
Yes, I am ready for a break. There is more though. It is also mixed with a sense of dread and feeling of foreboding. Gayla at You Grow Girl expressed this sentiment so well when she stated: “I want so badly to be the sort of garden writer that composes eloquent, graceful pieces that encourage gardeners to appreciate the cooler seasons and respect the importance of the winter. The fact remains that I am a summer baby. While I understand and respect the seasons, I absolutely abhor the winter months and am full of anxiety as they approach.“
Yes, this time of the year is often full of angst and more than a few tears. It is the beginning of the end people. The start of incessant and relentless rain. A dehumidifier that never stops. Mud everywhere. Frequent crying jags. Seattle + Winter ≠ Happily Ever After for Meg. Thanks Gayla for feeling my pain.
The garden though. You aren’t here for my inner weather neurosis. The Scarlet Sentinel apples are perfect right now. Sweet, crisp, and just the right size!
The asparagus patch has started the annual die back. I leave them in till they are completely dead as the birds really like to hang out in there and nibble on things.
A few last fall-bearing raspberries are still ripening.
The garlic is in and soil covered with the most amazing chicken manure compost, followed by a generous layer of partly composted straw from the chicken run.
I’ve pulled out the plastic sheeting that covers our hoop house and gotten it in place. The winter garden to be has been in place for some time now. but continues to grow and it seems like we will have healthy crops of chard, kale, lettuce, arugula, and beets.
Beautiful cosmos and nasturtiums are still blooming in the raised bed edges.
Lots of mixed lettuces and kale.
A few last ripening hot peppers. It was a banner pepper summer!
The nasturtiums just won’t quit. They are nothing if not resilient!
This is the first time I planted fall peas, but they they are growing and tasting well. I tucked the hoop house coverings behind them so they still are growing up, up, up.
I pulled our strawberries out this year. They have been there 6 years and even with good pruning their output is decreasing. They were also a mix of both june-bearing and everbearing and we are going to plant primarily june-bearing next summer. So, they are out and the blueberries are mostly tucked away. The chicken compost is on and the beds are awaiting the final layer of straw-poop mixture from the run as mulch.
The sweet chickens are still molting and putting out only a few eggs. I haven’t put in lights on a timer yet, but I better getting on it stat or we are about to be Eggless in Seattle for the winter.
Daddy, our silver-laced wyandotte hen is the only one that doesn’t appear to be molting at all. Isn’t she a beauty?
The other Annie is looking a bit rougher. You can see she has lost a fair amount of feathers to her chest and neck.
Spent sunflower heads are a chicken favorite and offer up some extra protein. Chickens need extra protein during molting season to rebuild their feathers. Feathers are primarily feathers and eggs are primarily protein. This is why they usually stop (or slow down) laying during their molt. They need that all that egg laying protein for feather growth.
A few winter prepping chores are left to complete. I need to get gutters up on the summer-remodeled coop. The coop could use a good going-into-winter cleaning. A bit more chicken run mulch will be placed around – primarily around the berries and asparagus once they are cut back.
Then, I’m staying dry and working on my business for spring!
Link to past Mid-Month Meanderings.