Preparing for a West Coast Winter

All during the summer I add more and more plants to my Stash, a collection of perennials, shrubs, and goodies that catch my eye throughout the summer. The green shelving was the inside of one of those little inexpensive, pop up  style greenhouses. Surprisingly, <wink> it did not last the winter before being blown about with the topper torn up. Thereafter it  became the holder for all my treasures, aka The Stash!

The Stash of plants

Black gold, compost for the raised beds.

We live on beautiful Vancouver Island, which is essentially a big rock. As one cannot garden into the rock, The Mister built 23 lovely raised beds. Eight of them are long rectangles for strawberries  potatoes, rhubarb... while the rest are 6'x6' squares good for all sorts of vegetables, annuals and perennials, a real, traditional potager.
Top the beds with manure, compost and leaves. Sadly, I have very few deciduous trees of a good size, as of yet, in the yard, but as they grow, I will be harvesting their leaves for home-grown leaf mould. Ideally, one should add 3 to 4 inches of weed free, organic material to the garden yearly. I break this into two stages, adding half in spring and half in fall.

Winter onions are in after beds are cleaned up. In back is the fall crop of beans, rutabagas and carrots with two beds dedicated just to garlic. I leave a few Dukat Dill plants in to self-seed, and, as the parsley is perennial, it stays, as well.    

The herb bed has been cut back and topped up. This year I added Lemon Grass to the bed to see if it overwinters, however, I have a back up plant in the greenhouse, just in case.

Sunflowers are looking a bit tattered and soggy from the rains, but as they are still humming and buzzing, I decided to bundle them up to prevent breakage. Will leave them up as long as I can, to feed my little pollinator and bird friends.

Five days later, the compost bin is full to the brim with the remains of summer while all 23 beds are cleaned up, top dressed, and and ready to roll through the winter.
The Stash has been cleaned out with all plants happily in the ground, ready for the winter rains.  

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