Our 2021 garden cleanup: progress and plans for the day

I worked on some of the garden beds yesterday, until it got too dark to keep it up. Here is what I managed to get done.

The first bed I worked on was the beet bed by the garlic, as this one will be getting a box frame soon. I started by removing the bricks and rocks around the edges, some of which you can see in the background.

I had to come back this morning to get a picture of this area. The beet bed had a row of red bricks along one side, which I moved over by the tomato bed. Then I went around the house and yard to pick up all the red bricks I could find and brought them over. When this bed gets cleaned up, we’ll re-do the boards along the fence, so that they fit better between the fence posts and line the entire length of the fence, to keep soil from washing through the chain link. The rest of the bed will be framed with these bricks, to keep the soil from washing into the path.

Amazingly, even though the vines are quite dead, there are still tomatoes ripening. I did not expect that, with the temperatures we’ve been having!

The beet bed then got weeded, and lengthened to match the garlic beds. I also moved the soil more towards the middle. I will not be digging out the soil to do the layering like I did with the others on this one. We only have wood enough to make a box frame one board high, so even though the boards I found are wider than the ones used in the other beds, it still won’t make a bed as deep as the others. This bed also got layers of material buried in it as it was made this spring, and quite a lot of the new garden soil was added, so it won’t need as much material to fill it. Once the box is built, it’ll pretty much just be laid over the existing bed. About the most I’ll do is make a “foundation” of old boards, like I did with the other two beds. Once that’s in place, I will make a trench in the middle of the soil and bury more organic material from the compost pile, but that’s about it.

The next area I worked on was a quick job. I just had to spread out and level the soil from the potato bags (and even found a few missed potatoes!). Nothing fancy is happening here. There are some lilies that need to be broken up, and they will be transplanted here.

The last spot I worked on before it started getting too dark was where the poppies had been. One of the things my daughters and I observed over the summer is that we needed to make areas to walk through, without stepping on plants. So at one end, by the rhubarb, I used the flat stones I found under the old wine barrel planter along the spruce grove as stepping stones. The rhubarb covered the poppies that had been planted near it, so I’m considering transplanting those somewhere else completely, but that won’t be done until the spring. We have only three interlocking bricks, so I used them as stepping stones at the end nearer the laundry platform.

The poppies that were here would have self seeded, which my loosening of the soil would have disturbed, but that’s okay. I did harvest a few little pods. I will broadcast more seeds some time over the next few days, then do it again in the spring. Once they have established themselves, this should end up being a permanent bed for Giant Rattle Breadseed Poppy. I do plan to get another variety of edible poppies I found from a Canadian source, but those will be planted in a completely different area.

So that’s as far as I got, yesterday evening. Today, I won’t be working on the garden clean up at all. My daughters will be working on that, later today. It’s supposed to warm up a bit more, but I’m really hoping the winds will die down. They made things quite bitter while I did my rounds this morning!

I’ve asked them to take before and after pictures for me. 😀

As for me, I have decided that I will can some of our beets. After going over my recipes, we do have enough to pickle. My daughter has been doing refrigerator pickles with the summer squash, which is great, but they take up a lot of room in the fridge, so I want to do water bath canning, so they will be shelf stable. I should at least get a half dozen 500ml jars.

I’d better get started!

The Re-Farmer

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