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Life on the Farm in Autumn

Tom Throgmorton
Tom Throgmorton

Its autumn and we’re talking more and more about fronts, but community supported agriculture – CSA farms – are still planning for this seasons harvest and next. KUNC gardener Tom Throgmorton talks more about life on life on the farm in autumn.

Even though the tomatoes and eggplant were still fruiting it was time to prepare for winter.  By the looks of things, Native Hill Farm is planning on harvesting vegetables as late into the winter as they can.

Some cold frame structures have been built in the past week.  The structures are fairly simple hoops frames constructed out of plastic pipe.  They are covered with frost cloth.  The cloth lets light through but it has enough insulating factor to keep frost off of the plants.

The cold frames are covering larger cold season veggies.  Cole crops like broccoli and cabbage are in the frames.  Also housed in the frames are salad greens and lettuces.

Younger cold season crops are covered with frost cloth at the ground level.  As the plants grow the cloth can be lifted.  This is part of the succession planting so fresh veggies will be available at the winter farmer’s markets.

The high tunnel cold frame where the summer tomatoes grew was converted to winter crops a few weeks ago.  It is open on these warm autumn days.  But it can be buttoned up to protect the plants and preserve the harvest.

Areas of the farms have been tilled.  Organic matter was tilled in and the areas will be left fallow for the winter.  This practice rests and builds the soil.  Some green manures have been planted.  Green manures are plants grown to purposely be tilled into the soil.  The manure plants are often legumes that take nitrogen from the air and convert it into the soil.

Some new beds will be plowed this fall.  Fall plowing captures more winter moisture.  It softens the soil so it’s easier to till in the spring.

Market farmers work at day to day tasks but they are planning months into the future.  Crops are planted that will be ready in a few months.  Soil is worked so it is ready for next season.  The daily harvest goes on while the next season is started.


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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