Lazy Gardener: Wrapping Up The Season

  • Posted on: 5 October 2017
  • By: Cathy McGuire

It's been a long and fruitful (and veg-ful) season this year in the Pacific NW, but the rain has returned and the garden is (almost) tucked in for the off-season. Only, around here it's not totally off... I've planted overwintering garlic, kale, broccoli, and a bit of lettuce, and I'm hoping to get enough mild temperatures to keep them growing for a while longer. I'm still getting raspberries, and there's some weird late-season squash that volunteered when I turned a raised bed - I don't expect ripe squash, but the bees are loving the blossoms.

So it's a time to sum up what's been done, take notes and think about next year. Also time to mark those plants that should, with luck, come back again (see photo above - and yes, I realize the big leaf is a hollyhock - it's the small poppy plant below that I'm afraid of losing). I'm not sure how we can "plan" for the unexpected, but at least some amount of time/effort needs to be set aside - because a lot of this summer was having to deal with unplanned issues. There were sudden molds and aphid-attacks; there were overly-hot days (for us) when I had to protect even the hot-weather plants. And of course there was the effect of my new bee hives...many more fruit and veggies - not a problem; just unexpected - and harvest/storing takes time.

Speaking of unexpected - I found one of my hives had eaten their entire 10-frame store of honey on October 1st - I have no idea why, but possibly the majority of the hive swarmed and took it with them... I've been feeding honey back to what's left, and as soon as I have a hot day and the courage/strength to open the brood box (they are sooo bad with burr comb - it's destructive to open it up), I will see if there's even a queen... this particular crisis has taken up quite a bit of time. Chalk it up to inexperience (I should have noticed it sooner).

I'll try to write more soon, but I'm heading out to a local Food Day, where farmers and vendors can show off their wares and locals can learn more about cooking, preserving - and what's in the area! I'm taking photos; hope to learn a few things, too.

Anyway - what went well or poorly in your garden this year?


Planted plum tomatoes and processed about 10 lbs for sauce (frozen). lots of squash (long yellow thingies with green stripes, I forget their name). Chard is still good. One plant is 3' high, huge! Potatoes did well. Just pruned apple trees, made a large pie last week, and have enough apples for three more (yum!). We have a lot of shade since our southern neighbor does not believe in sustainable forestry. We are just north of Lacey, about 8 miles north of the I-5. Where are you?