Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The End is the Beginning

Middle of last month we had our first frost. 

That was it for the Summer garden.

*Note the gigantic clump of coreopsis. 

Last few weekends have been an attempt to square things away for next year's garden. It got away from me this year.


after wheelbarrow,

after wheelbarrow

was dumped into the heap at the edge of the driveway.

I rummaged around in the beds and look what I found!

What a nice surprise. I had thought I'd gotten them all. Enough for a nice meal and all the seed potatoes I'll be needing for next year's crop.

 By the end of the day things were looking pretty good.

The next job was the reverse:

Finding last year's piles among the tall grass and moving them back where they started.

They had shrunken down to a fraction of their former selves and were a bit hard to find.

Not exactly what you'd call compost, now is it? Much more like half rotted hay.

Every year I have the best of intentions, compost-wise. There's no shortage of raw materials here, only of self discipline. It all starts out fine, turning and watering, turning and watering. Then it gets hot. (The weather mostly, the compost only a little.) 

So each year I pile a bug ridden, disease and weed seed infested concoction onto my garden beds.

I mix it in well and let it cook down through the Winter.

Guess what? Everything works out just fine. *I even get some fantastic volunteers!

This year, in the bottom of the oldest pile, a few hand fulls of actual compost! I'm calling this a victory.

Here's next year's piles all ready for my half-hearted composting attempts.

And here's this years seed potatoes. 

If I can keep my husband from frying them up.


  1. Isn't it wonderful to finally get all that work done? It looks so nice with everything put to bed for the winter.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Katie--you're an inspiration to all of us procrastinating slobs out here!

    See you after Christmas--can't wait!


  3. Hi Cher!
    Every year it seems like a bigger chore, and what a relief to get it done! Now on to the flower beds...

  4. Hi Sis!
    Translation: "You are the craziest nut I know". See you the 26th!

  5. There's always so much to do in the garden, and fall is one if the busiest seasons, I think! The beds look so nice and tidy now, and that's great that you get some good compost with minimal effort :) That's what I need!

  6. Thanks Indie!
    That's kind of you to see my "minimal effort" as a good thing.

  7. What a nice find! End-of-year cleanup is sort of satisfying, isn't it - making yourself a clean slate for the spring? I still maintain a couple of compost piles, mostly for kitchen scraps, but more and more I find myself just heaping whatever organic matter I have in my wheelbarrow - weeds, hedge clippings, old straw, leaves - in the barest spots of the garden, where I know they'll turn into good soil soon enough. Seems like the worms come into those areas quicker than the ones where I spread well-rotted compost, and the soil sort of turns itself over into lovely black stuff :)

  8. Zoe!
    I've heard of this thing of which you speak, this newfangled "sheet composting". It's kind of funny when time passes by and just about everything you learned in school becomes antiquated. I'll probably do a combination of both methods this year since I'll be needing something to add back to the vegetable beds next year. It's true, the soil under the compost heaps is very black and lovely!

  9. Wow, that's a great surprise! I'd love to have that many potatoes to plant. What a nice reward after all that hard work. :)

  10. p.s. I spotted a little cat in the background of one of your garden bed pictures. As a cat lover myself, I love garden-helper-kitties!

  11. Hi Bumble Lush!
    Love your name! That's my good friend Blue Cat that you see there. She is sure that everything I do is for her benefit and pleasure. It's hard to take a picture without her in it!

  12. Well at least you have lots of stuff to compost and it seems like your method is working out well for you. Love all your potatoes and those are some really nice looking carrots. don't you do some fall/winter gardening?

    I do know all about things getting away from you! I have the same problem at times, tho it's more usually the house rather than the garden~!

  13. I can totally relate to the composting attempts, and yes, somehow things work out in the end.
    That's a lot of seed potatoes. Are you planting all of them?

  14. You must felt less tired with all the cleaning up after discovering many spuds that were not found previously.

  15. The garden looks so nice and tidy after your clean up. It's always very rewarding to have it in good shape and makes everything easier come spring when we are aching to get into the garden again. Those are some nice surprise harvests and the potatoes in particular are very nice looking.

  16. Thanks Mary!
    I did a Winter garden a few years back and will definitely make the effort this year. We had the best spinach that year!

  17. Hi Norma!
    My potato bed is 4x12 and I like small potatoes so I plant them pretty close together. I probably will use all of them!

  18. Hi Malay-Kadazan girl!
    Those potatoes were like a gift that day!

  19. Hi kitsapFG!
    Thank you for the nice comment!

  20. The end is the beginning, indeed! It's a constant cycle, even here in the mountains. Your garden is a much bigger version of mine and I like the three rased beds and how you're made them into such a neat design.

    I remember my first look at real compost in my previous garden, wonder they call it 'black gold'! It's beautiful.

    How nice to get surprises too as a gardener! Happens all the time if you look, huh?

  21. Hi Sue!
    I'm glad you like the garden beds. They've really been a nice way to grow vegetables, up out of the mud and up where I don't have to bend down so much. About surprises: I think it's this possibility more than anything else that keeps me fascinated. Anything can happen out there and no two years are ever the same.

  22. Love your high wall beds. Great potato harvest. Best wishes for a happy Christmas to you and yours.

  23. Happy Christmas to you too, Bridget!

  24. Wishing you and your family, a Happy New Year!

  25. First of all the garden is amazing, I admire your elbow grease! Secondly I know we have shared that last journey with our darling Dads. My heart goes out to you big hugs all the way from a wind blown island in the middle of the Atlantic. I hope the end is indeed the beginning of the next phase of living for us both. Loving the connection with you and your blog here:~)

  26. Hi there Foxglove Lane,
    Thank you for the kind thoughts and words and for sharing a very heavy burden. Isn't it funny that something as cold and mechanical as a keyboard and monitor can locate a kind and even a kindred soul in this vast, vast world?

  27. Hello! I'm kumittyi from Japan.How huge garden you have .I envy you.
    I enjoy gardening in my little garden.And I'm enjoying a new hobby of blogging,too.
    I am very interesteded in the big differance between yor garden and mine.
    I'm going to visit your blog again.

  28. Hello to you Kumittyi!
    You're the first to visit here from Japan. Isn't it amazing, the different gardens from all around the world? Welcome to my blog and I look forward to hearing from you again!


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