Monday, October 31, 2011

Where did autumn go?

A suburban greenmom laments her lost autumn

We kind of blew it this fall.

It's probably the hardest thing about trying to live sustainably and to sustain that sustainability—the fact that life doesn't seem to sustain anything like a regular pattern. There's no such thing as a typical autumn for us.

Last fall we were totally on top of things—we raked up not only our own leaves but those of all our neighbors. We hauled manure from the local stable. Our yard was awesome in its fall prep, to the extent where there wasn't very much we had to do then in the spring to ready it for planting. Well, okay, that's not exactly true...last fall and spring were the bulk of our Grand Landscaping Endeavor, wherein we killed a bunch of lawn and created a big perennial zone in the rear third of our yard. So in the spring we did have to haul a lot of dirt and wood chips. But we didn't have to feed the ground much at all, because there was this lovely winter-old layer of decayed plant food we'd put down in the fall.

But still, in the autumn we were ready. Suddenly I realize it's the last day of October and we've done basically bupkiss. I cut back the crazy-wild roses I hadn't pruned back enough last spring, trying not to do too much because they still need some living plant to survive the winter. I for the first time ordered bulbs to plant in some of the more early-barren areas of the yard (and am grateful that cool dark storage enables one to not plant them right away—because I just haven't had time). Somehow there just aren't as many leaves this year to rake and use for mulch; I'm not sure why. And our giant overgrown privet hedge is going to have to wait for spring, to be cut back, which I now read is the best time for it anyway.

So...since I have very little to report—on this last day of October, what are your autumn garden rituals? What do y'all readers do in the fall to get ready for next spring? How does it work for you? (And please be sure to include where you live—when people talk about their “fall planting,” it makes us Northerners feel very inadequate unless we know you live in South Carolina or something!)

Jenn the Greenmom

3 comments:

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

We've got a ton of kale and Swiss chard to harvest before our first frost, which should be in the next week or two, and then I'll cover the beds with mulch and take a break for a couple months. I'm also giving garlic and onions a go this year.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Oh, and I'm in North Carolina. :)

Farmer's Daughter said...

I'm in Connecticut and on my second snow day home from school already. My yard is already white, so there's nothing growing right now!

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