Market Report for October 19th-
Market started out with a crispy fall night, but that changed in a hurry. Looking to the west you could see the misty rain making it's way to downtown Toledo.
There were nine vendors on this second to the last night of market. There were tables full of bakery, eggs, herbs, potatoes, winter squash, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, radishes, jams, jellies, honey, onions, and squirrel corn.
With market over it's time to make sure everything is cleaned up and put away. Clean off the garden, spread manure, or compost on the garden, dig up tender bulbs, stake young trees to prevent wind damage, clean up plant debris from beds and borders before mulching, plant a cover crop, and set up your cold frame.
It won't be as easy in late winter when you will want to start to use it. Once you have cleaned up your garden debris throw your cuttings as well as dried leaves in your compost bin. But remember don't throw in weeds or diseased cuttings, this will only multiply these problems down the road.
Don't be tempted to skip some of these last-minute chores; they're worth doing because they can make a big difference to success of next year's garden. It's a good idea to plant a cover crop or green manure, as part of your preparation for the following year. This crop is not intended to be harvested. It is simply to provide protection for the soil underneath. When you're ready to plant in the spring, you just till the whole crop into the soil. You ask, "Is a cover crop really worth planting?"
I think it is, it protects your topsoil from blowing, or washing away, and tilling it into the soil in the spring will provide valuable organic matter to enrich the soil. A cover crop will also shade the soil, preventing many cool-season weeds from germinating. Ideally you should plant your cover crop as you clean off your garden.
Cover crops are not exclusively used over the winter.
If you have a space in the garden that will be vacant for several weeks between planting, a summer cover of buckwheat makes an ideal green manure. The buckwheat germinates quickly and coves the soil, preventing the summer weeds from germinating.
Now don't forget your tools.
They need some TLC before winter also. Clean, oil, and sharpen your tools, then store them in a dry place for the winter. Drain those garden hoses, store them coiled in a sheltered place where they won't freeze and crack.
If you choose to wait until spring to do all the above, that's okay, But come spring, you'll be happy to get started with no fuss or muss.