Just Veggies with Ellen Wells

Crisp asparagus, mouthwatering tomatoes, crunchy carrots, even juicy berries. You don’t have to be a vegan to appreciate the value of good tasting vegetables. Ellen Wells, our Just Veggies blogger, talks about her experiences in starting them, planting them, growing them, and best of all, eating them. Yum, yum!

Wrapping Up the Season Definitively Blog Image

Wrapping Up the Season Definitively

This weekend was my last visit to our two vegetable gardens until March. This is the first time in a long time that I can remember being so definitive in the closing up of the garden. There’s no “Oh, I’ll be back to get these last few bits of parsley,” or “I can come back and clean up that last pile in a couple of days. Nope, not this year. I’m being realistic with the weather, the season, and my time.

A few years ago I recall harvesting fresh zucchini on November 18. This year a week of near of below freezing weather set in instead. Considering my upcoming travel for the holidays, the possibility of snow and the last yard waste pickup of the fall season, I decided to cut it clean, harvest everything worth harvesting, and hang up my garden gloves for the year.

Here are a few things I’ve made sure to do (or will do soon) to wrap up the gardening season and to also not get caught off guard in spring:

- The composters are cleaned up of the “black gold” that has been developing in them undisturbed for the last six months. Buckets of the stuff have been distributed between the two gardens and worked into the soil so it’s ready to go for next season.

- No random piles of debris are sitting in the gardens. I have thought that letting compostables sit and decompose during the freezes and thaws of winter would prepare them well enough for working into the soil the next spring. I’ve done it now for many years and realize I’m just making work for myself come spring. All loose plant material too large to put in my composter has been bagged up and is awaiting the recycling crew as we speak.

- Everything that was harvestable was harvested. Beets, Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks, radishes and a smattering of herbs. The cold temps actually give the sprouts and kale a sweetness that it otherwise doesn’t have. Maybe the beets, too. I’ll see soon, as I’m intending to make beet ketchup with it.

- Garden gloves and towels have been washed. My hand clippers await a cleaning and oil application before being put away for the winter. And this week when I have a moment I will go through all my old seed packets and my garden bags, saving and ditching out-of-date items and doing a general cleaning.

- After stripping the kale plants of all their leaves I have left the stalks standing. Why? I’m hoping when I step foot in the garden in March I may have some growth happening. Maybe not. But it’s an experiment.

- I planted one last row of spinach. Like the kale, I’m hoping Mother Nature will be kind and give us a few spurts of warmth that will get the seeds going. That would be a delightful way to begin the next gardening season.

Closing the garden gate so deliberately also gives me a sense of closure and a new place from which to begin next year. Gardeners can exhaust themselves keeping the garden in mind 24/7/365. I’m hibernating this time around. Wake me when it’s a steady 45F.

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Ellen Wells

Meet Ellen

When you are raised on a farm, you can't help but know a thing or two about gardening. Ellen Wells learned about agriculture from her parents/grandparents and then went an extra step by studying biology at college. She¹s now editor-at-large for Green Profit magazine, a trade publication for garden centers. Ellen also writes for the Boston Globe.

Previous Entries

Wrapping Up the Season Definitively
Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds
First Pass at Growing Turnips
Roxanne the Radish
Slow-Flowering Basil
Cherry Tomato Indigo Sun
A New Miniature Grape Vine
Bird Damage on Chard Leaves
A Lightweight Trellis System
Dealing with Cabbage Worms
TomTato - The Tomato-Potato Plant
Growing Hulaberry White Strawberry
When the Garden Is Planted, the Real Work Begins
Grapes in the Small-Space Garden
Growing Delicate, Delectable Radishes
Growing Onions In the Small-Space Garden
Beating Flea Beetles
Collards: The Trending Leafy Green
Rice Hulls As Soil Amendments
Mixing Veggies With Ornamental Flowers
Preparing a Garden Tool Bag for the Season
Spring Sowing With Seed Tape
Fertilize and Fuhgeddaboudit
The Scoop on Cukes
Modern Sprout Hydroponics
Small-sized Apple Tree for Urban Gardens
Apps in the Garden
Closing the Garden
Garden Lessons from 2013
The Basics of Growing Cabbage
Fall Application of Compost
Late-Season Tomato Plants
Black Cherry Tomatoes
Two Great Things About Broccoli
Planting Fall Seeds
A New Basil Mix
My First Batch of Worm Compost
A Take On the Florida Weave for Tomatoes
Growing Eggplant
Caging Cucumbers
Creating a Squash Trellis
Prolific Dill in the Garden
Reasons Why Basil Leaves Turn Yellow
The Garden Through May
Using Straw & Hay As Mulch
MobileGro for Small-Space Veggie Gardening
Moo Poo Tea
Trying Mushrooms at Home and In the Garden
Gardening As a Community
Get a Jump with Garden Tunnels
BrazelBerries Jelly Bean Blueberry
Veggies Get Vertical
BrazelBerries Peach Sorbet Blueberry for Compact Spaces
Time to Plant Peas
A Thornless, Compact Raspberry
Fish-Based Fertilizer
The Power of Earthworms
A Dozen Thoughts on Compost
Save Room for Watermelon
Growing Sprouts Indoors
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
The Pumpkin Patch
What to Do With Green Tomatoes? Soup!
Composting with a Composter
A Garden’s Resilience
Basil and Other Herbal Adventures
My End-of-Summer Planting of Fall Crops
Tomatoes and Powdery Mildew
Flea Beetles
The Importance of School Gardening
Transplanting Cabbage and Other Cole Crops
General Vegetable Garden Maintenance
Hilling Potatoes
Why Tomatoes Crack
Oregano: Learning a Lesson
Tomatoes: Seeds vs. Plants
Planting Leeks
Perfectly Parsley
Giving Garlic a Go
Chives: This Spring’s First Crop
Planting Potatoes
Bumper Crop Grafted Tomatoes
Sage: What to Do in Spring
Seed Terms Simplified
Early Arrivals: Garlic, Chives & Shallots
Sowing Arugula Indoors
Try These Garden Veggies in 2012
Try These Garden Veggies in 2012
Plant When the Weather
Burpee Youth Garden Award
Broccoli Basics
Of Thyme and the Tie
First Frost: What Will Survive & How to Prepare
New to Me: Kohlrabi
Vermont Cranberry Beans
Gearing Up for Slowing Down
Time to Clean the Pruners
Squash Vine Borer Causing “Wilt”
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits
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