It’s early November in the Garden of Grace, which means we’re wrapping up the late summer harvests of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and cucumbers. We’re also harvesting winter squash and kale. In addition, we’re busy preparing beds for winter.
Our bed preparation involves removing summer/fall crops (our compost piles are happy!), weeding, applying a layer of compost, sprinkling organic amendments, and doing some light pitchfork turning. This is a simple, easy way to clean up beds and return nutrients to the soil while preserving soil integrity (it’s also a method that’s easy to replicate at home!).
Here in Livermore, we’re lucky to be able to grow food year round. In the garden, we’re planting hearty vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. We’ll start harvesting these fall-planted brassicas in late November to early December. In addition, many of our beds are in rotation with fava beans, which germinate quickly and thrive in cold weather. As a cover crop, fava beans help keep the soil protected (we don’t like to leave the beds empty and exposed), improve soil texture, and suppress weeds. Fava beans also fix nitrogen in the soil, improving soil fertility. While fava beans are also edible, we like to cut the stalks down after a few months when the plants start to flower (before the beans form) to get the most nitrogen benefit.
The Garden of Grace is living up to its name these days— when the world outside feels chaotic and turbulent, the garden is a peaceful, positive, and lush refuge. During volunteer hours, the garden is full of people from various backgrounds working together to do good in our community. If you want to get away from it all for a few hours, we invite you to volunteer in the garden. We look forward to seeing you here!
Our mission is to encourage, empower, and teach individuals and communities to grow healthy, nutritious food for themselves and others, including those in need. Later this month, you’ll receive a request for support during our winter season fundraiser. If you feel Fertile Groundworks is making a difference in our community, please help us by donating.
As always, we’re continually grateful for our community. You help make Fertile Groundworks the sanctuary and positive force that it is.
The Garden Team