Frost killed our garden November 2nd. We’re elevated some and usually get a week more of growing time before that first frost stops everything. The celery, chervil, parsley, carrots, and even the garden huckleberries are still hanging in there. The plants in the tunnel house are unharmed except for the Rattlesnake beans that were touching the plastic at the top of the house. Many of the flowers in the hugelkultur are still blooming.

Frost killed our garden November 2nd. We’re elevated some and usually get a week more of growing time before that first frost stops everything. The celery, chervil, parsley, carrots, and even the garden huckleberries are still hanging in there. The plants in the tunnel house are unharmed except for the Rattlesnake beans that were touching the plastic at the top of the house. Many of the flowers in the hugelkultur are still blooming.
Several weeks ago, I wrote that I would do my best to eat only from the produce we have grown. This may sound easy, but I’ve found I still had to get some things I had hoped not to have to purchase. I’ve ran out of cheese and eggs. The sorghum didn’t ripen as fast as I thought it would. When I dug the potatoes, my hoped for bumper crop was very sparse. The snap beans stop blooming as soon as the temperature drops and the squash was pilfered before I got it. One of these days that rabbit is going to wish it hadn’t come in the garden!
Still, I’ve had plenty of garden greens, beets, carrots, garden peas, green onions, chives, young garlic, cabbage, peppers, many herbs, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and dry beans. For right now, Hubby and I are going vegan to push the ‘eat from garden’ envelop. We have a bounty of frozen and canned foods. The grains for breads are sealed in jars and buckets. We have mature corn in the freezer for hominy and cornbread. The pumpkins were made into soup that just needs to be thawed and heated. Okra and green tomatoes are breaded, but I will have to buy oil. Green tomato relish will make dry beans taste even better. I know we can’t go for several months, but one day I hope to grow almost everything we eat.
We are building more beds for the garden. I do like the idea of building the soil up inside the beds so the long slim carrots, smooth beets, and hills of regular or sweet potatoes can strut their stuff.
I’m happy to see USDA is now encouraging farmers to “‘Keep the Stubble’ during No-Till November“.  Natural Resources Conservation Service campaign is encouraging farmers to keep tillage equipment in machine sheds, leave plant stubble on their fields, and plant cover crops.  
This is what we try to do. We start green manure (cover crops) in September and leave it in place until spring. This practice does several things. The soil macro and microbiology are left intact throughout the winter giving them a better chance to survive and multiply. The cover gives predators a safe place to winter over. Green manure crops improve soil fertility and tilth, catch and retain water thereby controlling erosion. Cover crops catch leaves adding vital matter to the soil. Crops such as daikon or forage radish helps break up hardpans or compacted clay soil.
Winterizing this way isn’t new, but there is a learning curve to it. Planting too late or the wrong cover crops is a waste of time and money.  Don’t forget, a haven for predators is a haven for prey.
Each year I learn more. Someday, I will have learned it all and they’ll bury me the next day.

Linda Simmons writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.