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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall in The Swamp

I'm learning my ideal gardening environment is 45 to 65 degrees on partly cloudy days. The lower the temp, the less "partly" on those clouds, please.

It's been a looooong time since I've tried "Fall-cleanup" in The Swamp. Not sure if I've ever really tried it. It's more the kind of thing vegetable gardeners do than flower gardeners. While the weather has been kind with mild temps and sunny days, the sun rises after 7:30 AM and sets around 7 PM, so it's a race to get home and get dirty while I can still see the shovel.

The asparagus bed with added space for garlic.

I've moved the raised bed dirt into the flower bed and the "almost finished" compost into the raised bed. I've dug up the 10x10 Wild Plot in the middle of the yard and seeded with fescue, mostly because I can't maintain all the beds I want to have and Sweetie does need a bit of lawn for butt-hunker running purposes. That sounds so easy. This is the part of the yard most destroyed by the arborists, so with every shovel, I'm hitting rocks and buried tree branches. Fortunately, I've forgiven that crew, so I'm not furious anymore.

I expanded the asparagus bed slightly to allow for a garlic bed, too. Seems you have to leave garlic alone for a while if you want multiple cloves.

I'll seed this swath, too. No more vegetables so far from the house. I'm considering making a dividing line of ornamental grass (you can see the grass I'd use just behind the tomato. I'd do that in the Spring.

I tore out the disappointing tomato plant last night. It tried, poor thing. It just couldn't get any traction with the weather. Next year, I'll go back to "Early Girl," even if I have to buy two because the first one dies. There's something to be said for an indeterminate tomato.

Up here, maybe it won't be so frost-susceptible. It will certainly be easier to smell.

I transplanted half my lilac bush closer to the house. I meant to move the whole thing, but lilacs sort of turn into masses of suckers, so I took a mass of smaller suckers and moved them. I may move more in the Spring to the south side as part of the "green screen" I'm planting between me and the Neighbors to the South. The ornamental grass from last Spring is doing it's bit, but everyone appreciates a well-planted lilac bush.

That's lemon balm and lamb's ear in front of the lilac. Both are "weeds" and should provide plenty of ground cover for next year.

I hope to switch out some peonies for lamb's ear in the rock garden. The peonies don't get enough water back there and the lamb's ear is a bee friendly weed, so the move makes sense. I also plan to transplant autumn sedum (or live forever, as we call it around here: a Kansas weed sold in garden catalogs to other States) to the back because butterflies love it and it can take the sun and heat. Don't know why I didn't think of doing it before.

If I can remember (and resist), I won't buy annuals next year. I should have enough self-seeders to keep the flower bed going and I'll transplant herbs to fill the bare spots. My annuals just didn't like the weather this year, and I did not get my money's worth. Considering the number of volunteer basil and dill that came up from two plants in 2012, I shouldn't have to buy those ever again. I hope.

That's a quick summary of how I'm spending the dying light of an evening and the daylight of a weekend. I'll be suiting up in winter gear to collect leaves, too. My compost bins are empty and momma needs brown stuff.

Happy Hump Day, dear readers. Get out while you can. Winter is coming.

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