We have frost in the forecast for the next three nights starting tomorrow. Our preference has been to avoid cleaning up frost blackened leaves by clearing out the sensitive plants ahead of the frost. Powdery mildew has hit the pumpkins and squash rather hard making them a mess to clean up either way. We planted a single hill that contained two pumpkin plants and two squash plants. Soil preparations ahead of planting included adding aged manure to the planting site. As the desired plants grew we cleared out weeds and covered the bare ground with chopped leaves. During the drought we hauled in enough water to keep the plants alive. When rainfall finally resumed, these plants exploded with extensive new growth. This first picture was taken this morning before Becky started clearing the ground of squash and pumpkin vines.
This long view shows the entire pumpkin patch now cleared. Some weeds were found on the center path and also on the crossing path that is only half stone. Clearly our early weeding and addition of leaf mulch kept new weeds at bay. The four planting beds at the far end of this garden are in great shape for next year's garden. The remains of the sunflower plants will be left in place to both feed the birds and drop seeds for next year's plants. We intend to be here early come spring to pot up newly emerging sunflower plants for placement in an area of our choosing.
The garlic bed in the left foreground is almost ready to plant. Two additions of aged manure have been spread and turned under. The dark spots are pieces of this screened manure that remained at the surface. Next, sifted compost will be spread on the surface then turned under. One last pass with the potato hook will be made just before planting time which is quickly approaching.
Freshly applied reground bark mulch is reestablishing a weed free path between two planting beds. The first time we did this, plastic was rolled out before the bark mulch was added. Quack grass roots quickly wove their way under and through this barrier making their removal impossible. Now we will have total access to this pesky weed that is sure to return and perhaps this battle will finally be won.
This is the extent of our ripe harvest. We have read that pumpkins showing some orange color will continue to ripen after they are harvested. We shall see. A spot on the front deck is where these were placed. Placement next to the south facing house wall might moderate the coming cold frosty nights. A blanket will be added as cover to try to avoid freezing the fruit. If that works, many warmer days in the sun may fully ripen each of these.
Here is the delivery system used to bring in bark mulch. Needless to say the tractor driver was rather proud of being able to back the wagon past the gate posts. The drop into a hole for one wheel did not simplify that move. I wonder how Sidney's FFA teacher would have rated this park job?