A beautiful rain is falling at the moment, keeping me from getting to some of the garden goodies that still remain. We’ve not had our first frost yet, but its sure to not be far away. Time to cover the tomatoes. They will continue to ripen right on through October by doing so. This is also a good time to get out that cold frame and put it over the lettuce and spinach you planted late in the season. A cold frame will carry those plants well into winter and though they will stop growing at some point, the plants will continue to provide fresh greens well into the winter.
Have you harvested your grapes yet? You will want to get them in before the first frost. For those of you just getting started with grapes, you want to allow them to go dormant before mulching around the base with straw or other material to help the young plants winter. November is usually a good time to do this because you want the ground to be cool. If you lay in your insulating materials to soon, the warm ground will keep the plants from going dormant like they should and they can be damaged by frost.
Fall is a great time to plan for next spring and I have been busy planning the lay out of some new raised beds. Its always nice to have them ready to go so all you have to do is plant them up in the spring. This is also a good time of year to rub down your shovels, hoes and other hand tools with a coat of boiled linseed oil. It goes a long way to preserving the wood for years and years.
When the weather breaks I will get out to the beeyard on one of the first clear and cool sunny days. I want to get them all squared away for winter and see what kind of condition each hive is in before winter arrives. As you know, the loss of hives through the winter is a major issue confronting beekeepers and bees alike. I’ve tried a few new things this year and hopefully we will see a few more hives make it through the winter. Have also made arrangements to locate three new hives on a small farm property nearby, so next season I will add three more hives there and hopefully add a spilt or two from some of the hives the winter.
Rain is always welcome in Central Oregon and if you live here I’m sure you are enjoying it as much as I am. We get so little its always welcome and of course its never long before the sun returns.