November Gardening in Santa Fe: Thanksgiving, Thank You For The Garden and Thank You For Tomatos
This time of year is a hard time for us gardeners. Or is it? We have gone through a season, of ups and downs, successes and failures, small natural disasters like hail, lots of splinters and thorns, but we have loved it. What we have received for perseverance is immeasurable. We have seen flowers come and go, and come back stronger. We have seen tomato plants look like they were shot with a machine gun in June produce so many tomatoes in October that we had to dedicate a weekend to harvesting them.
Much of the first part of the month’s garden chores have been dedicated to the tomatoes. Two weeks ago we picked all of the green tomatoes. This year I decided to box them. Another time I may try the idea of hanging the whole plant upside down inside. For a few days I just enjoyed looking at all of the tomatoes on the counter. Then I got out about six cardboard boxes and some brown paper. I made sure none were touching each other, left them at a single layer, and put the boxes in the pantry to check on weekly.
The reflection of a gardening season is so hard because we have too much to be thankful for to list. It is also just so hard for it to be over. But face winter we must.
The other aspect of November is what I call “ the window”. The Window is the short time that we have to get things done before the ground is rock solid. Now is the time to remove plant debris that might have insects on it, and to add compost. SO after boxing the tomatoes, it was time to head back outside.
This year I invested in a load of biodynamic compost. There are many methods to making this, but it is a process of layering of certain plants and manure that release nutrients more readily than other organic compost. It looked great and felt great, and I am ready to start fresh with two raised beds that I moved from another part of my yard. Now I have two four by four raised beds ready for a brand new start. For good measure, I planted some garlic on the corners. All of my other beds got treated with a few inches of the new compost, and so did my roses. Gardening is a game of gambling sometimes. We try new things and hope for the best. I hope this will give me killer beds and roses. I will not be able to tell you until nest summer, but time will tell.
I can’t complain about the yield this year. I am grateful that I am still unboxing so many tomatoes from two weeks ago that I have enough for eating and I still need to keep working to make them into tapenade. I am grateful for the abundance of organic food that I can produce with little effort. Most of all I am grateful for the wakening and awareness of the organic home garden movement. What would life be without our home grown food?