First on our list was gathering and shredding the leaves in our yard. The bulk of this was completed with the lawn mower and some strategic mowing that gathered up the shredded leaves into a pile. Then the pile was raked up and used to mulch the garlic bed:
The rest of the shredded leaves were added to the compost bin. We definitely have to build a new compost bin next year. This one is falling apart and probably won't make it through the winter:
After most of the leaves were cleaned up, we moved to the front part of the yard to tend to the ground surrounding the apple trees. It was a great year for apples. Too bad ours are not edible and mostly ended up on the ground:
Our property came with seven overgrown apple trees. At first, they produced only a few apples among their tangled branches. Over the years, we have trimmed and fertilized them. All but one tree responded really well and began increasing the amount of fruit produced each year. This year the size of the apples also increased.
It’s almost impossible to grow apples without some sort fungicide and insecticide spray regimen to eliminate the various worms, insects, molds, mildews, and other diseases. Not only do I have a difficult time accepting the fact that I have to spray the trees, I also have difficulty sticking to a schedule. So each year as the apple production increases, we eat none. At least the deer are fed well.
I am hoping next year will be different. I have all winter to research organic or low spray methods. Then I can develop a schedule and stick to it so hopefully we can enjoy eating apples next fall. Any links, book, or advice would be greatly welcomed.
To start off right, all the old diseased apples that fell from the trees needed to be removed. First we used a leaf blower to blow the leaves leaving behind the apples. Then we used snow shovels to scoop up the hundreds of pounds of rotten apples into a cart and dumped them deep into the woods so the deer can still eat as many as they want.
Other chores accomplished last weekend included removing the solar mulch from the in ground gardens giving the soil a chance to breath. Storing the rest of the growing pots, self-watering containers, and gardening tools into the shed for the winter. We also decided to remove the wooden trellis uprights along the square foot gardens and store them in the shed hoping the wood will last a little longer out of the winter elements.
Finally, a peek under the row cover shows the Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Swiss Chard, and Scallions have mostly recovered from the slug and caterpillar damage from earlier this fall