Wrapping up the summer growing season at Windy Thistle

September is my favorite month - even though there is so much to do to get the gardens ready for next year. What? They haven't even stopped producing from this year yet! Well, that's not entirely true - some veggies have come to an end. Everything is over grown - you can't even see the beehives anymore.

The Mess! Chicken pen to the left, wild paddock to the right. In the foreground is the fire pit and the berm where the tall grasses are composting. You can see the tomatoes sprawling on the paddock fence and look at that ugly blue tarp! We will be changing that next year!

Our green beans are done and I've let the last week of beans just go to seed. We left the beans hanging on the stalks of the sunflowers but we took the heads. Doesn't that sound gruesome? I don't know how the bean crop will go, we'll see. The sunflower heads are upside down drying in the dark corner of the kitchen now. Later on this winter, I'll toss an entire head into the chicken pen to give the hens something to do in the boring winter. I saved Curly Dock when it went to seed for this reason, too and have quite a bit saved for them already.

The tomatoes are sprawling everywhere in their gardens now. I've topped them to stop the growth but I haven't seen any lessening yet. Still setting a lot of fruit but I'm starting to pinch off the blossoms to force the plants to devote their energy to fruit already there. As soon as we get a cold snap, the vines will start to die back and I'll pull them all out and cut down the supports. I'll burn all of these vines so that we don't spread the diseases that tomatoes have next year.

The upper meadow and the kitchen long garden. The marigolds went above and beyond. You can't even see the nine other herbs, tomatoes and peppers that are growing here. The marigolds are notorious self-seeders, too, so next year I'll have a lot of transplanting to do when they start growing.

The deck garden is reseeding itself in basil. There is a marigold in there, too but it's mostly basil with some cherry tomatoes growing up the deck. We want to put rock around this garden this winter and make it a permenant bed.

The cayenne peppers are also over achievers and I won't plant nearly so many of them next year. Almost all of the plants have stopped setting fruit and the fruit there is ripening quickly. I wish the green peppers were doing as well though, they are coming in right now. I will not get the crop I expected and I have only myself to blame. I planted three kinds of peppers. I wanted just four cayennes, ten green peppers and four hot Asian peppers. I got seven cayennes, five green peppers and one hot Asian - because I mislabeled the seedling trays! I must be more careful in the future.

All of the deck garden and the long garden herbs are going to seed and I'm letting them. I expect that marigold, basil, thyme, oregano and the mints will all come up again next year. I plan on splitting the thyme plants this coming spring as well as the hostas in the front walnut tree garden. I will dig up the lily bulbs from the front gardens after they die back and replant them in a sunnier spot. They really grew leggy from their search for the sun.

This is the Walnut Tree garden. There aren't a lot of plants that thrive under these beautiful nut trees. Hostas are one. I need to split these hostas and spread them around this garden. I love their looks and there is enough violets in that garden already!

We're working on mulching the gardens and the paths. My Darling Roger is covering them with grass clippings, several inches thick. This will prevent growth in those areas and the mulch will decompose over the winter, enriching the soil. Every garden is getting it's share. The tall grass and tall plants like goldenrod are being cut back and the stalks are placed in piles in places where we are planning new gardens for next year. They'll decompose, too. Some gardens get covered with cardboard and newspaper and we're also covering the area around the air conditioner and the satellite dishes, too. We'd like to plant a low plant there next year to cover the ground but not cover the AC unit.

The grass tried to reclaim this path so we re-covered it with clippings. Next year we plant to pave this with our shale.

We have a second planting going on - we planted pickling cucumbers where the garlic was and they are growing wildly. I have six jars of pickles now with more brine ready and waiting for the rest. It's prolific and is covering the fence. I hope it would, I wanted to see how well they would climb. Next year, I will plant these lovely climbers where they will shade the chicken pen. Right now, the pens are shaded by thistle and goldenrod and a tarp. I'd like to do away with the tarp. It's big and blue and ugly.

Cucumbers are growing up the fence and every day, have to be pulled away from the AC unit. In the background is our paved working area.

I have a long walk garden that goes down to our firepit. We didn't get to any of the work we'd planned in this area. We'll mulch it down to the end and extend it this winter. I'll plant my garlic down this long row and I'll harvest our meager carrots when I do. I'm going to plant four times as much garlic this year as I did last year. Next to eggs, garlic was the one thing everyone wanted.

I plan on planting a long garden of garlic at the end of September and it will be up by the end of October. I'll mulch it thickly for the winter and it will come up again next spring.

You can see how the grass tried to reclaim this path but no way! I'm reclaiming it as a garlic bed instead! Right now, you can barely see the nasturtium's orange blossoms and the carrots growing among them beyond that overgrowing marigold. Did you know that you can eat peppery nasturtium blooms?

Oregano and Mint just took over this entire corner by Kidlandia. Both plants will reseed themselves.

I plan on cutting this bed of mint and oregano way back in the spring. Both plants are prolific self-seeders and I don't need to worry about killing them. I'll leave the dried stalks up for the winter to provide habitat. I'll do the same with all of the herbs.

This is the other side of the front gardens. I need to dig up the lily bulbs as soon as we get a good chill. I'll replant them somewhere sunny next year. I'll plant shade loving herbs here next year. The rock surround comes from our woods, naturally occuring.

The front gardens didn't get much attention this year. Everything in them is a volunteer. I will make these lovely flower and herb beds next year. I'll fill them with plants that love the shade and can tolerate walnuts. Our front driveway, front yard and front paddock are sprinkled with ten mature walnut trees. If you would like a seedling walnut, just let me know! We'll be harvesting the nuts from now to the middle of October but we must have missed a few last year as we do have seedlings.

We have so many plans for the next year and I'm taking the camera along with me for the duration so you'll get to see it, too! We're planning some winter classes, too, so sign up so you don't miss out on the hands on! We have the canning class coming up on 9/21. We still have one opening for that class. In early October, I am planning on hosting a soap making class. I'll post more about that soon.

As always, come visit Windy Thistle, even if all you do is sit on the porch and watch the neighbor drive by in his cool vintage tractor!

This is the kind of traffic I like to see.