We’re in the home stretch now, for sure. Last night’s frost advisory is a sure sign of that. The days have been so lovely that the advisory caught me off guard, actually, and I didn’t hear about it until the nightly news—too late to do anything about it. But it didn’t frost (though it did get very cold), and any crops that might have been damaged are just fine. Still, it’s a wake-up call. Time grows short, and I best get ready for winter.
The first order of business will be to harvest all those remaining frost-sensitive vegetables—mainly peppers and eggplant, at this point. After that, we will turn our attention to cleaning up the fields: winding up all our drip tape, dismantling and storing the irrigation system, unstringing the tomatoes and pulling their posts, and generally putting away all the supplies and equipment no longer needed for the season.
Once all that hardware is out of the field comes my favorite fall chore: mowing off all the spent crops. It feels so good to chop up all the season-end chaos and make it disappear. Then I will disc that organic matter back into the field where it will break down and feed the soil food web. Finally, over top of it all, I will sow a cover crop of winter rye to protect the soil throughout the winter.
Then, one last fall chore: planting next season’s garlic. But that is a tale for another time.