EECO Farm- November 2023 Newsletter for Gardners

The wild November come at last

Beneath a veil of rain;

The night winds blows its folds aside,

Her face is full of pain …”

                November” – Richard Henry Stoddard (1823- 1905)  

The 2023 growing season is quickly drawing to a close and by the time you get this newsletter, most of the EECO Farm gardens will have shut down and many cold frames will have already been set up.

Even though EECO Farm has not yet had a “hard freeze” (defined as sustained temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour) we did experience a “first frost” (overnight temperatures that stay below 40 degrees but above 32 degrees) and so most food plants have now died back.

The EECO Farm Board decided it was best to turn off the main water source and blow out the underground PVC pipes earlier this month. However, EECO Farm gardens will still have access to fresh water. As usual, the frost-proof hydrant (it is an old-fashioned hand pump) on the north side of the Tool Shed will manually pull water directly up from our deep underground well when you pump it up and down a few times. This water source will stay available throughout the winter. (You will, however, need to supply your own bucket --- or a very long hose.)

Contrary to popular belief, your garden does not die back entirely from the cold weather but actually dies back mostly from the lack of sunlight! It is the cold and frosty nights that finishes everything off for good. And for those gardeners who like to keep track of these things: Winter arrives on Thursday, December 21, at precisely 10:27pm, EST. The good news is that it will start to get a little bit brighter every day after that!

NOTE: The automatic gate will soon be switched back to MANUAL. So, yes, that means you will need to exit your vehicle and use the bungee cord to open and securely close the gate until next Spring.

We will leave out the weed wagon, the wheelbarrows and also keep the tool shed open until this month’s end. Most importantly --- the port-a-potties will remain available for use until December 1st. After that, the nearest public restrooms are located in the Village’s municipal parking lot over by Stop & Shop, a/k/a “Reutershan”. 

Please clean up as much of your garden as you can now so weeds don’t go to seed and blow into your neighbor’s gardens or our common areas. NOTE: EECO Farm reserves the right to clean out especially egregious situations of overrun gardens and we will bill the renter for the clean-up! 

Shutting down your garden for winter is relatively easy if you take the minimalist approach and simply pull out everything that is dead. That works fine for veggies and annuals --- but you must be careful as perennial plants that come back in spring can die back totally to the ground and just “play dead”. You don’t want to accidently pull out your dianthus, rudebeckia. (a/k/a, Black-eyed Susan), tiger lily and the like!

Marking your plant locations and what they are named is something to do now. Usually cutting stems 6 to 8 inches above ground is fine for day lily, iris, coneflower, stasis, Joe Pye weed, phlox, goldenrod, salvia, gladiola, sedum, yarrow, ironweed, all daisies, hosta, and grasses, etc. 

Also, in addition to perennials, many EECO Farm gardeners have vines, bushes, small trees and the like growing in their gardens so those, too, should be properly cut back as appropriate for each variety. Kindly do not have any plants that shade your neighbors garden or block our pathways.

         Take off all the dead side shoots from your trumpet vine, clematis, hops, grape, honeysuckle, etc. and just leave the main trunk and major branches intact --- unless you think the whole plant is overgrown or too long. In which case autumn is an excellent time to prune it all back if it is acting inappropriately to your tastes. Also, cut back all perennial herbs, lavender and roses that have finished their season. 

In the case of cold intolerant bulbs and/or tubers (dahlias, elephant ear, calla, etc.) it is recommended that they be dug up and stored in peat moss in your dry basement with little to no natural light so they can go dormant. Some gardeners try to leave these in place and cover them with at least 6 inches of salt hay, straw or dried leaves but winter at EECO Farm is quite harsh and this plan is not for the faint of heart. Use garden stakes together with garden cloth or fabric to hold down your insulation of choice so it doesn’t blow away.

Do remember, however, that EECO Farm is open every day of the year --- no matter the weather --- and our gardeners may visit any time they wish during normal business hours (5 am to 10 pm). Many people take hikes/jogs/bike rides/power walks around the EECO Farm perimeter all year (please stay on the paths!) or they often come and just watch, paint or photograph migrating birds. Feel free to invite your friends to participate.


This is the last gardener newsletter from EECO Farm until March 2024 and the entire Board of Directors wishes everyone a healthy winter and joyful holidays and a very happy New Year!

Please remember your garden’s full one-year renewal for 2024 is $240 for a single and $150 for each extra patch. Payment is due by January 1st and no later than March 31, 2024.

You may make your garden(s) lease payment using PayPal --- just visit our web site

         If you do not intend to return to EECO Farm in 2024, you will be missed, but please tell us as soon as possible so someone on our long waiting list can now enjoy having their own garden. Thanks.

         Happy Gardening!