Right now the garden looks like pretty bedraggled. Sad, right? How about these strawberries? They tasted so delicious, but now they look anemic and ready to die.
Well they are about to die…back. Their roots will stay safe and warm in the ground, ready to come back in the spring but the green tops are withering and dying. I think that’s why I love living here, I get to see the cyclical nature of life. All things die, but all things eventually come back.
This weekend is likely the last one we’re going to get here with any substantial sun in Seattle for a very, very long time. Hub and I have plans to get our garden put to bed for the winter. The perennials in containers will overwinter, but if they’re allowed to freeze it can kill the dormant root system. The larger containers, like these strawberry barrels will be fine free-standing with a good mulching.
See my little baby strawberry plants in the square pots? I’ll tuck them in with their big sisters to keep them safe and warm. A nice thick layer of straw, nighty-night and see you in the spring, you delicious things!
But the rest of my ‘kids’ are in much smaller pots, so I’ll gather them all together on the side of the garage and pile straw over them all. I’ll huddle them together like emperor penguins, plus put some large yard furniture around them to protect them from getting blown around. I did all this last year and it worked better than I thought it would, which was pretty cool.
My next experiment, is overwintering some edibles. I planted more carrots, onions and beets late in the summer.
Apparently, all I have to do is mulch them good, so this weekend we’ll be covering them with a thick layer of straw. I’ve read mixed reviews about the beets. Some say don’t bother, that they’ll be inedible and just bolt (go to seed), while others rave about their harvest the following year. Same with the onions. Carrots universally seem to do pretty well overwintering in the ground.
So while I’m busy working on WIP 2 during the rainy season, my garden will be peacefully slumbering and waiting for spring, nestled beneath a cozy bed of straw. All things in their season.
Do you have any rituals for this time of the year? Is there anything you bid farewell to this year, that you look forward to seeing again in the future? Putting the garden to bed is my fall ritual. It reminds me that there is a time to be active, a time to rest, a time to be productive and time to die. It reminds me that death is not the end, but part of a cycle that we all participate in.
Well I don’t have vegetables, but I love pulling off the dead stalks of my lilies, irises and other bulb flowers because I know they’ll be so fresh and pretty in the spring. I also cut back my pretty little rose bushes, knowing that I’ll have big beautiful buds next summer.
I’m not much of a gardner, but I appreciate people who have green thumbs. Good luck to your little greenlings!
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Thanks, Patricia. Come spring I’ll be posting how they did through the winter.
Hmm. After reading this I guess I will go outside and cut back my sassafras. maybe I’ll get really ambitious and trim a bush as well.
I think winters are a lot harsher/snowier in your part of the country. If I lived in that sort of climate, I’d probably just put my feet up with a cup of hot chocolate and letting things wait till better weather.