It's been a busy few days around here. Danny started out by taking care of the bees. He decided to condense both hives back down to one hive body each. From what we learned at the beekeepers meeting they'll stand a better chance of surviving the winter that way.
After that, he and the boys finally got the pool packed away for the winter. Then it was on to fall clean-up all over the place.
Yesterday, Danny, Colin and the kids worked together and removed all the t-posts and strings and old tomato plants from the tomato garden. Today, Danny brush-hogged over it and the squash/cantaloupe garden and the boys raked and piled up the debris. After it dries out a little they're going to burn the pile to be sure to kill any diseases that may be lurking in the old plants.
They also started removing the fencing from the cucumber rows. They removed the drip tape and soaker hoses from two of the gardens. They even got quite a bit of grass cut and the chicken coops moved. The boys managed to get quite a bit of outdoor playtime mixed in with the work (they were jumping haybales this afternoon.)
Bonnie and I worked on pulling out tomatillo plants and found an unbelievable amount of ready to eat tomatillos hiding underneath the plants that weren't affected by the frost. We have several boxes of them to put up. (Just when I thought canning was almost over!)
Today I worked on removing the debris from the gourds and then weeded the asparagus. It looks like the majority of new plants I started this spring survived the summer in spite of all the weeds and are actually doing quite well. I hope we'll get our first crop from them in the spring.
Then I started weeding the swiss chard. It looks beautiful, the frost didn't affect it at all. The chickens were thrilled, they got to enjoy all the imperfect leaves I removed. I should have quite a bit of it to take to the market on Saturday!
I guess the next big project will be removing the dead plants and taking down the rest of the fencing in garden #1. Next year's gardens will have a completely new arrangement. We need to rotate crops again. Most likely the herbs and swiss chard and the hoophouse will be the only things to stay in the same place next year.
Danny is very anxious to fertilize and plow and then let the gardens rest for the winter.
Oh, we also got our first sweet potatoes this weekend, about 20 pounds so far, and we still have about 2/3's of the row left to harvest. We're excited, it's the first time we have ever tried to grow them. We decided it was a success and we should do it again next year in greater quantity so we have enough to share.
Hope to see all of you at the market on Saturday! I'll be at the St Louis Community Farmer's Market. This will be the first one of the winter season.