I wrote this post about ten days ago, before the cold season crept in, and I never got a chance to publish it. I wrote it before we had to deal with some of the winter nuisances and complications that are typical of rural areas in the middle of nowhere, Italy – where entire hillsides and their river system are neglected, and basic services and utilities aren't always supplied or guaranteed. In the last ten days, in fact, this is some of what happened (and it hasn't even snowed yet!):
- Internet: gone (which explains my
sporadic presence here – I'm told that the telecommunication guys
are waiting for a repair part that must have been sent by slow boat
or something, and I do hope we'll get our connection back soon,
because work and life in general depend heavily on it);
- street lights: all out on our road (in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, though it's very hard to hike up to the house in the wintery early darkness, not to mention find the keyhole to the front door!)
- landslides: had one already, fortunately a small one, which Tom and the boys cleared away in sideways rainstorm with their hands and feet, to be able to reach our village.
Well, ten days after I wrote this post, it's indeed high time to think about winterizing, because winter is truly here!
This year, I want to do a better job of winterizing my garden. “Better job” here is actually a pretty low bar, as in the past I've done next to nothing to protect the soil from winter ravages, and to prepare it for the next growing season. So this fall I've spent some time pulling up plants, and clearing away the remnants of the past season – which included a nice surprise crop of green tomatoes, and some pretty leaves with fall colors that Rebecca stuffed into pockets, to the joy of my washing machine.
I'm now wondering about further winterizing steps. A winter cover crop would be optimal, but I'm afraid I'm too late for that, so I'm considering mulching and using the grass I cut back in the spring, and which I've saved for this purpose. But I'm tortured by a doubt: what if this process spreads unwanted weed seeds throughout my garden?
How do you winterize your garden? Any suggestions?