With multiple frosts and several nights of below freezing temperatures things are looking pretty bleak around here. Most of the walnuts have fallen now and been picked up for cracking. We see the return of those gray skies of winter.
Most of the leaves are now on the ground and we are working diligently to gather as many as possible for the compost and gardens. NEVER waste organic mass for those compost piles and leaves are a wonderful addition. Fortunately we have a leaf rake attachment for our riding lawn mower to help with picking them up. The grass is still green but we know that is not for long.
Most of the landscaping plants and bushes are frozen back now. The real work begins cutting it back and disposing of the refuse. Things like this red trumpet vine will be cut back and the trimmings burned as it can become invasive. This is planted on some old wooden clothes line poles and the hummingbirds love it when in bloom. And I love the hummers : )
The beautiful wispy foliage of the asparagus are done and will be cut back now that they are dying for the year and a nice layer of straw and rabbit manure laid over the top of the bed. Next spring we will rake the straw back when the temperatures start to warm for it to again emerge and provide us with those succulent green spears. The leaves of the asparagus we burn to control any asparagus beetles that think of overwintering in it. My mother in law used to actually burn her asparagus bed off every winter instead of cutting the stalks.
The Rhubarb bed also is showing sign of winter kill. These will be cut to the ground also once all the leaves are dead. The leaves will also be added to the compost. Once the strawberries have completely died back they will be lightly covered with a protective layer of straw.
And all those mums are looking less than stellar right now. They too will be cut back to the ground and the straw mulch already in place pulled around them to protect them from harsh conditions.
Just because cold weather is here doesn't mean that those gardening chores are done yet. We are busier than ever with compost piles, mulching gardens, cleaning pens and preparing everything for much colder conditions. One thing I've learned about living this far north on a farm; the work in the gardens does not stop until it is completely covered with snow : )
Once everything is completely dormant then the pruning of grape vines and fruit trees goes into full swing, any damaged wood must be removed and the vines prepared to put out in spring.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter