This year was one of extremes here on the coast north of Boston. Days and days of perfect summer weather. Then a heavy downpour of much needed rain. Then back into hot summer weather. The good parts - time to sit outdoors under the apple tree and enjoy the soft air, heady aromas of the plants, watch the bees and read a few of the books that have been piling up. The not-so-good parts, the gardens needed more water than Mother Nature provided. Some of the perennial plants have been sorely stressed and may need to be replaced.
Now is a good time to evaluate what went well and what should be done to make next year's garden easier to manage. Much of the soil is surprisingly poor so more seaweed, marsh grass and any other plant materials available to improve the soil's ability to retain moisture is a must. During the last storm we were able to collect two good loads of seaweed and spread it on some of the beds where the crops have been harvested. Collecting more materials for mulching is high on the to-do list. A pile of newspaper printed with soy based ink has begun. Have you noticed how small the papers are now? It will take a while to have a good supply on hand for Spring.
This fall all the existing mulch will be raked away to let the sun kill the fungus and bacteria lurking there. Special care will be given under the grape arbors to remove all the grape 'mummies' and leaves to continue the battle against the rot. Adding neem oil to the regular spraying schedule appears to be improving the situation. That is just the start.
The corn is done for this year. The beans are still producing a goodly number. Tomatoes are ripening almost faster than we can harvest them. The root crops wil be fine for while. Time to go out and enjoy the view!