In early October, we were starting to see the first signs of possible fruiting coming in from our recently planted bush beans. First time growing them, and a spot didn’t open up until late in the season, so we weren’t sure if anything would come of this experiment. Lovely pink flowers.
To our surprise, our Brandywine tomatoes made a late flush of rather giant fruit. As the daylight hours and temperatures were dwindling, we weren’t sure if these would ever ripen. About ten of them were taunting our tastebuds (and my harvest spreadsheet) from the vine early in the month. Temperatures started leveling off and even warming up, but nothing would reverse the hours of sunshine hitting them. I pruned the lower leaves and any diseased leaves as well, and made sure no new flowers were developing. I also cut back dramatically on any water they were receiving. These things stress the plant into putting its last remaining energy into ripening. One recommendation even was to jiggle the roots… sure, why not—who am I not to jiggle the roots?
Sometime in early Spring of 2015, we spotted a few bulbs sprouting up in the side beds and the fall green manure cover crop perking up in the rear bed. I knew that the green manure mix was supposed to survive the winter, but I was impressed all the same. It was great to have some green shoots decorating the bleak vista without having to do any work to get them to appear.
Following the guidelines for the green manure mix, I waited a few weeks and then turned them under in order to kill them off, let them decompose as new organic matter, and give the soil a blank slate for our spring vegetables. I considered covering the soil to block the sunlight and prevent them from reappearing, but ultimately decided to try leaving them be. I was careful to avoid walking on the soil, so as to avoid compacting it. I’ve worked hard to bring it up to a friable, spongy texture over the past three years that the plants’ root systems seem to appreciate.