Eldorado Windy Farm

Home Farming in Eldorado

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Farm Blog Fall 2013

September 21 - December 31

Fall is the season for changes in temperature and weather. Frost in northern New Mexico can occur early, usually in early October. Tomatoes, eggplants, squashes and peppers are finished after the first frost. I picked a lot of green tomatoes before the first frost and allowed them to ripen in the kitchen during the month of October. The tomato plants are not put into the compost, but the others are composted.

In the vegetable garden the broccoli, collards and kale will still be OK until the nighttime freezes get below 20 degrees. The broccoli will, however go to flower if any of the buds are not picked. Garlic is planted in October to be harvested in July.

All of the summer herbs (oregano, marjoram, basil) have been picked and dried. The other herbs (tarragon, thyme, sage, rosemary, spearmint, lemon balm) have been trimmed and are being dried as well. The chives, parsley, lovage and Egytian onions don't dry well, so they are only eaten fresh. We grow herbs in various locations on the farm. Some in an area in the vegetable garden and some in the flower garden both in pots and in the ground. I have one plant of lemon verbena that I always dig up in early October, pot up, trim and bring into the sun room until after May 15 when there will no longer be a chance of frost. There are also three large fig trees (brown turkey, Penasco and Negronne) in the sun room. I used to take them outside for the summer, but now I leave them indoors all year long. I trim them back every winter when they go dormant. This causes them to put on more branches with more leaves and figs.

The fruit trees will loose their leaves by the end of October. This year one of the pear trees died (the last planted Anjou) Two of the apple trees (the Granny Smith and the Braeburn) and one of the small sour cherries developed blackening of the stems and had to be severely trimmed. We will go into the winter with 26 fruit trees in all. They were all well watered with collected water in the middle of October.

All of the water catchment barrels have been emptied. Not that the water in them will freeze, but the faucets would freeze.

The bees are doing well in the one hive that is left. After the chamisa, Maximillian sunflowers and purple asters go to seed there are very few flowers around for them to gather nectar or pollen. They are getting pollen from somewhere though. They are also coming out to get water when the temperature gets above 50. I will not open the hive again until a warm day in February to check to see if they need to be fed. They have 17 bars of brood and honey, so they should not need any additional food.

The flower garden is coming to the end of the growing season. There are still some flowers (salvias, catmint and snapdragons), but most of the perennials will need to be cut to the ground. The bushes will also need to be pruned once they loose their leaves in November.

The lavender plants that were planted this year are doing well and are ready to go into their dormant period for the winter. Hopefully next summer there will be enough lavender stems and buds to sell at the Eldorado Farmer's Market.