Underground there is plenty of work to be done throughout October. Bulbs, tubers, and roots will occupy our dry days in both harvest and planting.
Top of the list is the root harvest. Sweet potatoes are dug immediately after a light frost or before a pending heavy freeze. This year’s crop looks promising since Rusty worked in a generous amount of sandy compost to the bed before planting in June.
Another sweet root is the carrot. Some are dug now while others remain in their beds covered under mulch outside or under two covers inside the low and hi tunnels. Right beside the carrot is the beet and the Daikon radish ready for chopping into the spicy Korean sauerkraut called Kim Chi early November.
As for bitter roots used in medicine at the farm, the Echinacea and burdock will be harvested after a frost and made into tinctures to build the immune system and cleanse the liver, respectively.
On the ornamental side, the showy red Dahlia distributed evenly around the deck need to be cut down and their tubers carefully lifted out of the ground and placed on bread trays on our cool, dry basement floor. They will rest there until next June.
In between harvesting the many root crops, we are planting garlic and flower bulbs, particularly tulips. We saved the biggest heads of our July garlic and by mid-October we’ll place individual bulbs three inches deep and six inches apart. As for the spectacular tulips, Rusty recommends planting them annually in groups of five to a depth three times the size of the bulb.
The hard work this fall is returned throughout the winter with preventative medicine, with a colorful spring, and with delicious produce year round. Let’s get digging!