|Old tomato vines overload this wheel barrow in |
our annual garden clean-up
The earth, now uprooted, is crumbly and sweet. Fragile brown leaves remain to grace the plot; a few crinkly and translucent skins remain also, dried over clumps of dirt, where in haste a wave of tomatoes was spilled last month. We left alone two tomato bushes and a dozen pepper plants, but next month this section will be tilled under and planted with a cover crop of red clover.
Interestingly, as we were cleaning, we found several fat tomato worms with cocoons of parasitic wasps attached to them. When larval wasps hatch, they feast on their wormy host (yuck!), once again triumphing natural pest control over pesticides.
We dug an armload of carrots, now six months old and not bitter. Cabbage and brussels sprouts plants have adjusted fine in the last week after being transplanted to their permanent growing locations, and seeds of mixed greens, chard, and beets have sprouted with carrots just now coming up. We’re already using some canned and frozen vegetables from the pantry to supplement limited fresh garden choices, while we wait for fall vegetables to mature.
|Tomato worm with cocoons of a parasitic wasp -|
natural pest control in action
We packaged seeds of 2 lettuces, green beans, carrots, and basil. To save small seeds, break up the tops of branched seed heads (make sure they are completely dry first); rub them together between gloved hands to separate seed from chaff, and winnow using two sieves: one to separate large debris, and fine to extract dust. Seal in a letter envelope, label, and keep dry and cool.
Friday is the Autumnal Equinox, first calendar day of the season of Autumn: a time to enjoy the good of all our labors.