Eldorado Windy Farm

Home Farming in Eldorado

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Farm Blog Fall 2014

September 21 - December 31

Fall is the season for changes in temperature and weather. Frost in northern New Mexico can occur early, usually in mid to late October. Tomatoes, eggplants, squashes and peppers are finished after the first frost. The tomato plants are not put into the compost, but the others are composted.

In the vegetable garden the broccoli, collards, kale and spinach 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, onions and shallots are planted in October to be harvested in the summer and fall.

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 and lovage 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. This year the brown turkey produced about 30 figs, the Penasco about 10 and the Negonne about 8.

The fruit trees will loose their leaves by early November. The Damson plum developed a "weeping" of the the stems and had to be trimmed. Next year we will see what effect it had on the tree. Other fruit trees that have had problems in the past but have over come them are the backyard plum, Braeburn apple, Granny Smith apple and one of the smaller Montmorency sour cherries. The two pear trees (Everfresh Angelys Anjou #7 pear and the Luscious pear) are very windblown, but remain healthy. We will go into the winter with 26 fruit trees in all.

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 all of the three hives. After the chamisa, Maximillian sunflowers and purple asters go to seed there are very few flowers around for them to gather nectar or pollen. After a last check in mid-October, I will not open the hive again until a warm day in February to check to see if they need to be fed. At that time I will feed a mixure of sugar and water until the fruit trees begin to flower. I will leave each hive with at least 14 bars of honey and brood.

The flower garden is coming to the end of the growing season. There are still some flowers (salvias, catmint, mint, agastaches and Jupiter's beard) blooming, 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.

All of 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. I am focusing on the culinary varieties, since they were the ones that I planted this year.