Every other spare moment I had I spent working out in the garden getting it ready for fall. One of my classic gardening mistakes is not planning for the fall when I plant in the spring. It would make my fall jobs much, much easier if all the plants I planned to winter over were in one place, Meaning all the kale, collards, swiss chard, leeks, carrots and parsnips were planted in a chunk.
If I did that then it would be simple to clear away the corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, onions, flowers and such and plant my cover crops. As it is, I am digging a couple of feet here and a couple of feet there and gingerly working around the roots of the plants I plan to hold onto as long as possible. My cover crops (this year: buckwheat, beesom clover and rye grass) get planted in dribs and drabs and never really get all over large chunks of the garden. Here's what they look like just coming up:
See the problem (and this is easily the good news too) is that my garden will happily keep feeding us for months to come and maybe all winter if we don't have another hard freeze like we did last winter. Usually, I can keep us in greens and some veggies all winter.
Right now (just after our first killing frost) we are eating parsnips, brocolli, carrots, leeks, three kinds of kale, rainbow chard, collards, beet greens, argula and a few varieties of hardy winter lettuces that I can't remember the names of. All these greens come from Wild Garden Seeds, which has fast become my favorite seed company in the world. I wish I could buy all my seeds from them. The quality (vitality) difference in plants grown from their seeds is astonishing,
Last year, with its month of bone-chilling in the teens or lower kind of frost, was unusual. Greens will stand temperatures in the 20's, even for a few weeks, but they don't like temperaures under 20. We lost our whole winter garden during that infamous icy spell. We also had an ice dam on our mudroom roof that poured water straight into the house and our pipes under the house and to the barn froze solid. That was a first. Guess it really was cold as it felt.
But anyway, I have been digging away and not making much visible progress. Better get at it. If I don't get those cover crops in soon (as in last week) they aren't going to get a chance to grow.