I am preparing both my home and garden for winter’s rest. Inside, I potted up wild Violets in two big pots for winter salads. I have wild mustards coming up in a smaller pot, and I will pull each one to nibble before dinner as an appetite stimulator. The last one will endure the whole winter, blooming and dropping seed like it’s mother last year. I will nibble the edges as I prepare crock pot soups for warmth and satisfying meals.
I bought 4 pallets of concrete block this summer to dry stack around my mobile skirting. The winds rip the skirting off and I
expect this will keep me warmer until I build my small home. On my back patio I used block to make a 2x2x17 raised bed against the east wall next to the back door. I am still filling it with compost and soil. My Top Hat blueberry bushes produced nicely this year and I had blueberries every day for a few weeks. I will plant the four of them in this bed. I will reuse their large pots. The back of the bed is also skirting for the mobile.
I transferred a grapevine into one of the large pots. I will transplant it to another raised bed later.
I started two dragon cacti this summer by popping the decorative red ball cactus off the top and letting them grow into their own form. They make a marvelous fruit and seems a better use of the base stock than a grafted colored cactus on top. Plus $3 each was a better bargain than the $49 they want online. In about 2 months, mine is about a foot long. This winter I will build a wooden support for them since they are quite heavy.
I will also repeat the big pot of radishes I grew last winter. Instead of eating them as tiny sprouts, I let them get about 6 inches tall and ate them as an addition to my salad greens. By adding a few seeds every few weeks, I have kept this pot going for the last 10 months. I refreshed the soil yesterday and it came back inside this morning after a good rainwater soak.
I potted up a sage plant and brought it in. I can use it for cooking but mainly love the smell. I cut my Oregano to the ground yesterday and it is drying now. I should have plenty for all winter even though I use a lot, especially in Posole.
I will collect Sumac berries this afternoon. I like them dried and put a dozen in my hot tea in winter. I may get enough this year to also freeze them in ice cube trays for a lemonade drink. Freezing softens them nicely and makes them easier to mash for flavoring. Like other rose family fruits, best not to eat the seeds, so I strain them out. I have a lot of sumac but waited too late to collect them last year. The birds and other wildlife left me about a half dozen total. I collected them and potted them up. I have four tiny Sumac (Sumac trilobata) bushes in a one gallon pot out on the patio. if the birds and I are fritzing over them, guess we need more. I hope the birds plant a few up the hill as well for the mule deer and bear.
I bought ultra dwarf fruit trees this year and big pots for them. They did well through the summer and hopefully will this winter. I dry stacked a block fence around the patio and that will give them a bit of protection this winter.
A bonus of the fence has been wildlife visitors right by my bedroom window. Prairie lizards love it and peek in the window at Raven Black. Even birds are coming over to perch and peer in. I saw my first Roadrunner on my property and it perched up on that block fence looking in for a good ten minutes. Drove Raven Black crazy. I frequently sit at this window for the show but the best winter show will still be the One Seed Juniper outside my living room window. It is loaded with berries this year and will be filled with birds when the snow is deep. In late winter I pick some berries for my tea. A spoon of honey and it tastes good. I use about 20 berries in a 12 Oz mug.
My pinon trees are producing this year, they are almost ready. I am thrilled to get free pine nuts.
This year I finally got a good stand of New Mexico sunflowers growing on my property. The roots are a nice winter food and can be dug from now to spring. they have inulin and are good for diabetics. I had a good patch in Texas and once established they are hard to get rid of. My favorite kind of food, no work gardening. You can cook them like potatoes, but I like them baked the best. Like beans, they can cause gas so start with small quantities as in a mixed vegetable soup.