December 18, 2015
Preparing the Farm for Winter
Preparations for winter continue at the farm.
To stay organized during seasonal transitions, we follow a schedule of tasks from one year to the next. Before the blustery cold weather arrives, it’s important to replace all the screen windows and doors with storm glass, protect the air conditioning equipment with plywood, put away any necessary gardening equipment and container plantings, and cover precious shrubs and hedges with burlap.
Fortunately, this autumn has been very mild here in the Northeast. The last few weeks have even felt spring-like with temperatures nearing or reaching 60-degrees Fahrenheit. And, no one minds the reprieve one bit - in fact, it has allowed us ample time to ready the farm long before winter officially begins December 21st. Here are some of our photos… is your home ready for winter?
1 The seasons are definitely changing when large piles of leaves are being cleared around the farm.
2 The outdoor grounds crew has been very busy blowing all the leaves from view around my house.
3 With so many leaves, a large leaf vacuum saves much time and labor.
4 The leaves are sucked up by the large hose and fed into the back of the dump truck. When the dump truck is full, the leaves are taken to the compost area, where they are piled up for decomposition to form mulch.
5 While ground temperatures were still warm, Chhiring planted stakes along all the carriage roads.
6 Wooden stakes milled from felled trees here at the farm were painted Bedford gray and used to mark all the driveways so they are easy to navigate when covered in snow. The stakes are removed in spring and then reused the next season.
7 They are placed every few feet, so it is very clear where the driveway ends and the landscape begins.
8 This year, I also asked the crew to paint the tips of those stakes marking catch basins - this will make it much easier to find them underneath the snow when they need to be cleared.
9 The air conditioner pits which house the outdoor compressors were covered with plywood, plastic, and burlap to protect the equipment from the harsh elements.
10 Screen windows were replaced with storm windows.
11 Screen doors were also removed and replaced with storm glass doors.
12 The screen doors and windows were cleaned and neatly stored for the season.
13 The last of the huge urns were put away for storage.
14 These two by the stable were lifted by the Hi-Lo and stored in the loft space.
15 The sundial in the Ginkgo and Boxwood Garden was also tucked away for the winter.
16 Wilmer covered it in plastic and then a sheet of burlap.
17 Meanwhile, down at the vegetable garden, the last of the outdoor carrots and other vegetables were picked.
18 And the vegetable garden beds were cleared for the chickens.
19 Not only are they naturally fertilizing the soil, but their scratching and digging breaks up the soil for proper aeration.
20 The chickens will have access to the area for a few weeks - the result will be a rich, prepared garden bed with healthy soil. Of course, they will only be in the garden during the day, and in their safe coops at night.
21 And without fail, my two Pomeranian geese were on guard watching their flock.
22 All the garden beds were covered with a thick layer of compost. This will help to discourage weeds from growing by depriving them of sunlight and air.
23 Spreading the mulch and compost in cooler weather helps to insulate and protect those early spring bulbs and perennials from fluctuating temperatures.
24 It is also easier to apply the compost when the areas are free of plants and flowers.
25 You'll also spend less time watering because the mulch helps to keep the soil beneath moist and cool.
26 Enriching the soil will ultimately make your time in the garden easier and more enjoyable.
27 And, because we are nearing Christmas, my shooting stars were placed on the outside of buildings.
28 This shooting star ornament was hung on the Equipment Barn.
29 It will look spectacular at night. I will share more of my holiday decorating with you tomorrow.