Winter Clean-Up

Between last weekend and today, we made our final push to clean up the garden for the winter. Though the veggie beds and winter tunnels have been ready to go for some time, we still had to take care of the perennial border:

This is my least favorite task of the whole year, the trimming back of all the perennial plants and the raking of leaves for the winter clean-up. I am always sorely tempted to call it all mulch and let it go, but it is much harder to clean up in the spring before the bulbs come up.

So here we are, out in the cold getting it taken care of before what looks to be a week-long nor'easter heads our way. Also crossed off the list was some plant protection:

This is our little fig tree. Last year we corralled it in a box of leaves, but it was such a harsh winter that that it died most of the way back anyway. Over the summer it did put out two new shoots, and it looks like we may have a fig bush instead of a tree. Because it is so small, we wrapped it in straw and burlap this year. The new branches are fully covered, though the old branches still poke through the top.

We also are experimenting with protecting the rosemary this year. It's not really hardy in Massachusetts, but instead of digging it up and bringing it in, we decided to try (again) to winter it in place. Method #1 is a plastic cloche:

This holds in a surprising amount of heat, though we're not sure if it will be enough for the whole winter. We already had it lying around, though, and it fit perfectly over our small rosemary plant.

Method #2 is more burlap and straw:

This is the more traditional method, and we'll see if it does any good. If neither is successful, next year I will replace them (again) and vow to bring them indoors for the winter in a pot.

So that's it: The garden is well and truly ready for winter, and we won't be working outside until maple sugaring season comes again. There are still things to harvest on nice days, but the work for the year is done.


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