The winter cold has finally brought the gardening to a halt. But our winter is not much like the sudden, piercing cold we were used to in the midwest and other parts of the country. We’ve had a few soft frosts, but what really means “the end” around here is a lingering damp cold that brings all growth to a standstill and starts the decomposition process. After looking at a garden full of zombie plants, half-alive and half-rotting, Emily declared that it was time to lumpiar la milpa.
It only took about 6 hours with the two of us working: pulling out dead plants, weeding out the occasional blackberry, and raking the beds level. We carried a dozen wheelbarrows full of grade-A compost material to the bin for next year, and then spread clover seeds of the clean beds to give them some ground cover until we can replant them in spring.
But not ALL is dead in gardenland. Some of our crops don’t mind this weather at all, and will keep right on chugging. Beets, carrots, and broccoli actually LIKE this weather, and can be left in the ground until we want to pull them for dinner. It’s like having a grocery store in your yard, but better. We also have a few random plants that were put in as afterthoughts late in the season, and are cold resistant enough to make it this late.. if you look in the photo, you can see a few cabbages and some Brussels sprouts.
Now that we’ve totaled out the garden, we can look at the statistics for the year. Here’s a partial view of the 2011 spreadsheet. Some items don’t have data, because we had a problem with them (like the Lebanese squash) or we haven’t yet harvested them all (like the beets). This data will help us better plan for next year.
Now all we have to do is clear and till another 20 beds before March…