Veggies are Done–What a Mess

It’s almost frightening the state of my vegetable garden every fall.  It’s that time after the harvests are done, and it’s just waiting for me to attend to the clean up that things really seem to fall apart, literally.  As my husband likes to remind me, it’s a good thing it’s on the far side of the house where no one can see it.  But, that also leads to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.  This is what it looked like when I finally decided to get the yard wast bags out and start pulling.

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Some of the plants are already half dead, everything has grown over each other and to top it off one of the tomatoes has tipped over into the grass.

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In the process of dismantling the vegetable garden, some thoughts for next year.

  • This is the first year I tried the metal cone type tomato cages.   These did not work well for the indeterminate varieties that I planted.  They were just way too small, not tall enough and generally almost useless. They’re headed to recycling.
  • The taller cages with adjustable supports that I’ve used for some time are beginning to fall apart. I still like them, but probably need to invest in some new ones, or try something entirely different like trellising with a Florida weave (Garden Betty has an excellent post on this method).  That seems like a great way to keep the plants tamed and supported, but with my “casual” approach to my garden I can see how it could get away from me.  I’ll mull it over this winter.
  • My cucumbers need more room and attention.  They started growing up the cucumber trellis, which I love, but then they started to grab onto the tomatoes causing problems for those plants.
  • The zucchini and squash just need more space.  They spill over the bed, overgrow other plants (like my peppers)  and become obnoxious.

One nice surprise was that I found this pretty swiss chard hiding under the mess.  It was the only survivor from the seeds I planted in the early fall. Yum!

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So, almost ready for winter.  I am going to try and find some compost to put in now.  Last year, I was ready to get going with the early spring vegetables before the stores had any supplies in, so got held up a little bit.

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One of these days I want to get my own composting bin and make my own.  Between the plant waste all around the yard, fall leaves and household waste, I’m sure I could generate some pretty awesome “black gold”.  I just need to find space to put it.  Do you compost?  What’s your favorite way?

Is your garden ready for winter?

2 responses to “Veggies are Done–What a Mess

  1. Those indeterminate tomatoes are always a challenge. I finally started growing them on a 6′ trellis but at this point I only grow three tomato plants. The trellis isn’t really big enough either but at this point I just try to strategically prune to keep the vines in bounds. One year they grew up the trellis then all the way down the other side. Not familiar with the cages with adjustable supports that you mentioned.

    • I try to keep them pruned, but they seem to always find a way to escape. The adjustable cages that I like I found on clearance a few years back at Home Depot. I haven’t seen them since, but I need to look more carefully to replace these. They’re the tall green tripod supports in the photos.

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