Yesterday I took a short day at the office so I could come home and do some gardening in the sunshine.  The forecast called for two more days of sun and warmth, followed by a couple of rainy days, then clearing up for a sunny weekend. I decided that was good enough to try and get a winter garden in before the real cold sets in.

I yanked the summer garden out the week before last (all except the kale, which has been thriving since the aphids died off), but the empty beds still needed turning and sweetening up with some new compost. I’m not being overly ambitious with this round. Although I’d fantasized about starting an asparagus garden and doing some straw-bale cold frames of lettuce and spinach, I decided to go easy on myself. So I’m keeping it simple with beets, English peas, chard, kale, onions, garlic, and a cover crop of sweet peas in the biggest tomato bed.

After adding some composted manure and organic fertilizer to the turned soil, I carefully separated out the little onion starts and planted them in a row down the middle of the kale bed.

The soil in the lower bed and melon patch was not as depleted as the upper and middle beds, but I went ahead and dosed it with some good stuff anyway and planted them with English peas, beets, and garlic. The middle bed had my two tomato plants that suffered the steepest decline so nothing but sweet peas (note my funny ad hoc trellis of tomato cages and bamboo) and some manure went into that bed.

I was tired but very pleased to look out and see three garden beds of possibility, having grown weary of staring at my sad, gangly tomato plants.  However, the next morning when I went out to check on the new arrivals, I found my beds had all been trod through by the neighbor’s dog! Again! (You may remember this happened right after I planted my summer garden as well).  I know it was the neighbor’s dog because she knows how to open my front gate and rambles around freely in my yard, and because my own dog has MUCH smaller footprints and sleeps inside at night.  Curses! So I triaged the new plantings the best I could and erected a silly fence around each bed with bamboo stakes to hopefully discourage her from running through them like a dumb dog superhighway again.

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