Tuesday, October 11, 2005
October is the month for cleaning up, cleaning out and pre-preparations for next spring.
Does it ever slow down? Just a wee bit for a very short period of time, that happens here in Tennessee about the last of November.
We here at Sage Hill are a little ahead of the game in some things and a bit behind in others.
I suppose most farmers are in the same position. You do what you can when the elements are working with you and fill in where you must.
I was suprised this past week with a cold front, we were lucky it wasn't the first frost, so things are still fine. But it got me on the move with cleaning out beds, and adding mulch and cover for the things I want to protect from the harshness of winter.
My main focus this time of year is of course getting the things I wish to overwinter inside and protected. But aside from that is the preparation of the soil for next years gardens.
Be really careful about what you compost back into your soil. Any plants that look sick or diseased in the slightest way should be pulled up and discarded. (do not put into your compost pile) All others I allow to die back on their own and rot back into the soil.
If your like me you still have beautiful oregano, it just doesn't want to die. But I have allowed mine to flower and go to seed. It really isn't very tasty after that. I will cut it back severely in about another week or so to stop it from spreading. The flowers dry beautifully or you can toss them into a salad.
One of the ways I enjoy the very last pluckings from my gardens is to cut all the flowers and heads that do dry well and hang them upside down for about a week or two in the basement.
They dry enough to put into a vase for a few weeks as a special fall arrangement.
When your finished with them just toss into the compost pile.
Thyme should be mulched for winter protection. But you can continue to use it all year, in fact you should continue to pinch it back so it doesn't get leggy.
I like to spread a little sand around the base of my thyme for the winter, just to make sure the stems dont get root rot. This is especially good to do if you have a very wet winter.
If you wish to have an extra early spring crop of dill, you should plant it by mid November.
Bringing in your mint plants for the winter? This is the time to pot them up. Be aware that they
need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day and very little water.
Please practice being a good land steward.....don't use dangerous chemicals, instead look for and learn about the natural ways to care for your soil, it will thank you with rich and bountiful offerings. You and your family will be healthier and future generations will have a fighting chance to enjoy mother earth too.
Wishing you and yours a most wonderful autumn season.
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms.