Archive for the ‘Fall’ Category

Its true. 2012 was the first year I did not garden since college, more than 20 years ago. Twenty seasons of digging in the dirt, and this year, meh. Oh, I still planted a couple of things….some willows in the back marsh, pots for the front. I divided a couple of hosts, and pulled some weeds. But my point of view was different. I didn’t….care. Wasn’t engaged.

Can’t really say why, and frankly the why doesn’t matter. Or maybe it does. Am I burned out? Did the previous years japanese beetle attack bum me out so much, I had to take a break? Don’t really know. All i do know is this.

No fresh tomatoes. No crisp green beans eaten raw. No garden tan…you know, pale back, sunburned arms? No muscles either, and man am I out of shape.

So. 2013. Am I motivated to garden again? Yes.


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Fall Bulb Time

Bulbs ready for planingSo fast my head spins arrive the bulbs I forgot I ordered. Now is the season for crinkly covered beauties – Allium, Daffodils, Narcissus, Oriental Lilies, White Garlic, Red Garlic, low border mixes and “Purple Sensation”.

To see them out of the bag is both disappointing and exciting. In my mind’s eye, I can see them next spring – the snow still on the ground in the northside, crocus popping up and a cool breeze combing through the remains of the landscape grass. And then these beauties, these lovely orange, gold and yellow circled beauties. Celebrating the spring as will I.

My daughter said that spring was her least favorite time of year, that fall, now, was her favorite. I asked her why and she said it was because its “all brown and wet and cold”. And she’s right, its all that.

But spring in Minnesota is also a trembling pale green sheen, that gently, softly creeps over the landscape. Its cold nights, wet mornings, cool afternoons of hard blue skies.

And its about watching the first allium poke their snoots out from the cold ground. The clover and the daffodils and the primroses unfurling like a rolled sail. Its blinking once and then – there – the first…whatever of the year.

Enjoy this putting-away time. Spring is just around the corner.

P.S. I get my fine bulbs from the Maine co-op at Fedco Seeds (and Bulbs, Potatoes and other things.) I like them a lot. They write black and white recycled paper catalogs and subversive diatribes on the dangers of GMOs. www.Fedcoseeds.com

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Sebastian, the garden cat, also enjoys rides in the car. Really. He is one crazy dude.

I’ve been seriously remiss in not posting updates from the garden. Can I excuse it on the great harvest? It’s true that I’ve been focused on bringing in the sheaves, with making tomato sauce using borrowed pots and pans. It’s also true that I’ve fallen victim to the fall doldrums, an easing of responsibility in the garden now that cool nights and mornings are upon us.

Last night we had our first frost of the season. I’ve been talking, talking, talking about winter harvesting, and darn it, I’m going to do it. Not sure where the materials will come from, but I’m motivated to try. Elliot Coleman has two books I pore over to inspire me – “Four Season Harvest” and “The Winter Harvest Handbook“. Although he’s in Zone 5, I know much of his wisdom can work for a Zone 3 gardener (and he formerly farmed in a Zone 3 Vermont garden.) What I especially love are his thoughts on getting started. Simple. Easy. Low impact. While I may not be harvesting tomatoes in January (yikes!), I will have sweet tasting carrots, greens and snappy scallions. Plus, an early start to appease my spring gardening yearnings.

So, I’m off to plan my plan. Those of you who know me will roll your eyes and sigh, “here we go.” That’s okay. I like planning. I like piling on the information, then sorting through it and finding the one gem, the answer that creates that “yaahooo” moment. I do that at work, and I do that at home.

And yes, part of the plan is to expand my indoor growing area. I used to have new seedlings in the basement. Now, I start them in the living room, overlooking my gardens. I’ve been teased – “what you growing there, honey?” but pay no attention anymore. My neighbors know the score. It’s tomatoes, peppers, greens, flowers, and more.

I tip my hat to Fall and the start of the Winter Harvest!


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IMG_2175I never realized before this year that raspberries come in two varieties – late spring and fall. I’d always assumed they ripened once a year. In Minnesota, that can be a reasonable assumption – many varieties that bloom and blossom in other parts of the U.S. cannot up here in the frozen tundra.

So what’s up with the raspberries this year? What did I do differently? I ask myself this question often, sometimes about my garden, many times about my life. What can I do differently today, than I did in the past? What made today’s raspberries blossom?

Well, I didn’t cut them back like I’m known to do. I gave them some starter fertilizer this year. I watered them more often.

So, my key learnings? Treat them tenderly, feed and water them. Life lessons, those.

I’m harvesting potatoes today, and will be digging them differently. I gently fork the row sides, then hand dig each potato. Avoids cutting the ‘tato in half. Treat them tenderly.

What are you doin’ to treat yourself tenderly? Are you feeding and watering yourself well?

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