The larch is at it’s peak: the needles have turned from green to gold and seem to give off their own light. When the sun shines, the rooms closest to the tree are filled with reflected gold.
Last week I ran into my gardening neighbor who asked me if I had “put my garden to bed”. I love the idea of my garden being “finished” for the year with all work completed, but this has never been my experience. Even in winter, there is always something that needs to be cared for. This isn’t a bad thing, as getting outside into the garden regularly is part of my winter survival strategy.
Garlic: I planted Russian red and Italian hard neck garlic at the end of October. I wish I had ordered more, as the amount I planted (3 heads of each) filled up exactly half a bed. I will likely plant lettuce in the rest of the bed in late spring.
Greens: Arugula, parsley, winter lettuce, chard, Italian endive and kale are all productive despite the cold weather. The self-seeding wild arugula that we ate all summer has died back, but the other variety -planted in careful rows mid summer – is thriving. Of the five types of kale, the ornamental purple, curly green, Siberian and lactinato kale are growing like crazy, while the red Russian is turning yellow. I have a new recipe book that favours lots of kale and crispy fried sage leaves, so am grateful to have an ample supply of both.
Goodbye rotted pile of wood: In September when I pumped water from the barrel at the side of the house to the irrigation barrels, I realised that the water wasn’t making it up to the back of the garden. I followed the pipe to investigate and behind the new compost bin/shed I found a large pile of wood stacked on top of the pipe, which had caused the elbow joint at the corner to disengage.
In the last three weeks we’ve pulled out all the wood, which included the remains of the old compost bin and the tree house, removed the nails, and neatly restacked the good wood in a better location. The rotted bits of wood are now stacked in the driveway for disposal (apologies to our neighbours).
End of the food composter: We’ve used a big black plastic city of Vancouver food composter in the back yard for just over a decade. The bin was well used, but we could never seem to layer enough dry leaves and grass clippings between the kitchen waste so the decomposition process lacked mojo. We would have to layer the smelly sludge into the garden compost for an additional year to yield soil-quality compost.
Since the city now collects organic waste, it doesn’t feel necessary to sort our organic waste into what can be composted and what can’t (bones, fats, carbs, avocado pits and egg shells). As well, the food composter was moved a few times in the last year and the rodent-proof base was damaged. The plastic bin has joined the junk pile at the top of our driveway (again, apologies to our neighbors).
Festive greens: We are removing several large trees near the southern property line. One cypress died due to some root disease (says the arborist), and the other two trees are being removed because they shade the solar panels. This weekend I want to remove as much of their greenery as I can before the trees are gone. I am thinking of once again hosting a mid-morning, mid-week make-a-swag-and-drink-hot-cider event for all my unconventionally employed friends. (And for my one conventionally employed friend who reads this blog: I will make you a decoration for your door).
You are a busy beaver! I have beets – picked 6 this morning and beet greens and I still have lettuce but the 12 degree temp last week wiped out a whole lot of what was left. Other than that, my garden is sleeping well. Happy Winter!
Happy Winter Pat! Beets and beet greens are some of my favorites. Didn’t get many this year. Have a wonderful fall!
You are my inspiration Chrystal! Love your blog – all the time!!!
You are too kind Carol! xo