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Fall Cleanup

It’s that time of year, fall cleanup on the farm. We’re a little behind this year because of the prolonged Indian Summer we’ve experienced here. We’ve had an extended harvest of jalapenos, tomatoes, squash, berries and now that we have rain, MUSHROOMS! We’ve been busy picking and putting away the last of this late harvest but now comes the hard part, cleaning everything up.

This past week was good for putting the gardens to bed, picking up and stacking the last of the wood from our abundance of fallen trees this year. We lost eight trees to the various storms that came through and only have three trees left to put into the wood shed for next year. I’ll spend the winter bucking the trunks and smaller limbs into small enough pieces for our fireplace.

Garden bed prior to cleanup, laying hen tractors in background put up for winter.

For the gardens we’ll pull the dead plants and any leftover unripe fruits or veggies. For everything other than tomatoes we’ll try and leave the root systems in, to feed the soil organisms and apply a fresh layer of mulch. The few weeds we have will be get pulled and with the recent rains we should continue to make progress on reducing the weed pressure. There are two beds that we are going to have to solarize this year due to them being completely overgrown. These two beds were here when we moved in, and the summer we left them fallow really took a toll. We’ll cover both of them with clear plastic and let them sit for the entire year in order to kill any seeds, and root systems left in the ground. 2023 will be a new year for those beds and will allow us to focus on growing food instead of those undesirable plants.

Once the beds are cleaned up, we will continue our tradition of planting garlic around the perimeters of each bed, and we will be dedicating one bed to just garlic next year in order to make as much of the infamous pickled garlic as we can.

Paddington inspecting the garlic bed for next year.

The chickens on pasture will finally be moved to their winter home, which I’m sure they’ll enjoy as the days continue to get cooler. We anticipate them dropping egg production as they get adjusted to the coop and the new birds that we have in there now. We’ll also get the lights going in the coop in order to stimulate them into giving us some more eggs. The longer periods of light are good for them, and let them believe it’s time to keep producing eggs to make more chicks. We’ll have an interesting showdown between Clarence (old rooster) and the new one that showed up. We are now running at a 100% rooster rate when it comes to ordering new chicks. We only order pullets but it hasn’t failed that in the three years we’ve been doing, every order has at least one rooster in it. We’re not too worried about it as Clarence has proven to be a good boy, and not overly aggressive with us. He does protect the girls from other animals though, including Paddington.

That's a lot of work but sets us up for a nice lull in production through the winter months allowing us to recharge our batteries for next year. The only thing left is to take the turkeys in to the processor and enjoy them on Thanksgiving.

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