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Garden Update

September 10, 2010

In my perennial garden:  These days, I’m walking on a carpet of leaves. As I look underfoot and then across the garden grounds, my shoulders droop with dread. Then, what isn’t visible among the dry leaves changes my mood. No acorns. Hallelujah. Joy comes back to me. The acorn factory has closed. The factory will fire up again—without a doubt—once the cycle makes a complete turnabout in five to seven years. Until then, instead of 10-zillion h-e-a-v-y leaf bags each fall, I’ll rake and fill 5-zillion light leaf bags. Most importantly, I won’t have to extract a carpet of seedlings.

The second of two round shrubs, on either side of the garden’s entrance, has killed over. Each area now needs new plants, preferably draught-tolerant. At this time, I have no idea what. This will be a good winter project to research. The zinnias are holding up, still blooming. The vincas aren’t fairing as well—which is unusual—so I pulled most of them up this morning. Normally, they are stunning until the first frost.

The crepe myrtle has aphids. No surprise. They are famous for aphids.

In my vegetable bed:  Little-by-little, summer harvest has fallen short of its charitable bounty and only one vegetable—a tomato plant—remains in the raised bed. The hens loved the spent melon, bean, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and zucchini plants. After I added more soil and mulch, I divided the bed into four five-foot sections for rotation, and then covered each area with old hay to keep the cats out. (Note:  Normally, one would not build a 20-foot-long raised bed because it would bow, but mine is made of very thick beams. There’s no way it will bow.)

The voles have disappeared. I caught four with mousetraps. I’m guessing that the rest of the vole family left to find vegetation elsewhere. Who wants to homestead where there’s no pantry. Guaranteed, if you remove the vegetation the voles flee. At least for the time being.

I’ve gathered the empty, seed packets and noted where each summer vegetable grew. Later, I’ll take a closer look at the season’s mistakes and successes, and log them for future reference. For now, fall vegetable planning and planting is in order for my first, ever, winter garden. I’m not a winter person so the willpower it will take to go into the cold will determine future winter gardens. Not everyone’s heart sings as he or she gardens in the frigid outdoors.

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