October on the Farm

We’ve cleaned up all of the Far Garden. The irrigation pipes and cattle panels (aka cucumber trellis) will stay here through the winter.

Our oats and clover cover crop is doing very well in the Front Garden. In the spring we’ll till under the residue from this winter-kill crop and plant asparagus… a lot of asparagus.

In order to regulate their heat better, the bees have started to propolize their entrance. I’ll put a mouse-proof grate on in the next few days.

I’ve put up an insulation barrier for the bees. The straw bale on the right will be put across the front to bales to block the east side, and the north and south will stay open to avoid over-winterizing the hive (if it gets too warm they’re too active during the cold months).

We cut and hung our (mostly green at the time) hot peppers in the hoophouse to mature and dry. These Ring’o’Fire peppers are as hot as their name.

The buckwheat on the left of the strawberry patch will continue to die over the winter and in the spring we’ll till it under to prepare a new strawberry bed.

We also tore up a new section of field this week. We’ll seed it in the spring with a variety of cover crops to prepare it for vegetable planting in 2013. Having one more piece of land is critical for the kind of rotation we hope to establish: a four-year system involving intercropping clover as well as a year of rest coupled with a cover crop.

I used a moldboard plow to open up this new garden. It’s not the best option in terms of soil sustainability because it turns the top soil over, messing with the microorganisms and nutrients already in place. However, because the grass on this patch of land is so thick, it’s worth turning it over onto itself to kill the grass without letting it reseed. The moldboard plow also compacts the soil pretty hard, so in the spring we’ll go over this patch with a disc, a chisel plow, and a till. Again, not ideal.