It got cold here pretty much as soon as the September calendar page flipped over. Last year I had a leisurely fall that was fairly warm all through September and October. We didn’t get our first frost until November, so I spread out putting the garden to bed over a month. And I had half the plants that I have this year. Of course, now that I have more plants to watch over, the cold came sooner, and with it the threat of frost. Nay-chuh doesn’t care if I’m busy on the weekends. It’s gonna frost when it wants to, and since I’m going camping next weekend (possibly to get my own ass frosted), this weekend was clean up time.
I was out there for 3 hours, but what fun! Even with the wind from what is left of Ian, I had a blast, which surprised me. I’m not always great about finishing things and it was a tad chilly outside. But there was something very meditative about hacking down the crazy meandering tomato plants and ripping the base out of their pots. As the leaf waste bag got fuller the garden was restored to order and rest.
Here is the internet ready picture of the haul.
And here is the real scoop.
There were a ton of green tomatoes that did not deign to ripen. I love a ripe tomato, which is why I grow them, but lordy are they a bunch of precious princesses. First it was too hot for them to turn red and then it was too cold. Whatever, I grew some larger varieties this year, so I might actually be able to make fried green tomatoes. The rest of yas are going in a brown bag until you’ve thought about the err of your ways and get ripe like you should have done a month ago.
I picked most of the jilo and prepared to overwinter some of the plants. I let 2 plants keep going because their fruit is turning red, so all they are good for now is seeds. But as I’m writing this I just realized, they turned red kind of early, so maybe I don’t want to save seeds from an underperforming plant. Dang. OK, maybe I just try not to be super farmer over here and enjoy the jilo I have and trust the seeds I get from the nursery.
Best thing to harvest? The sweet potatoes! I had so much fun digging them up. You just don’t know what you are going to get. And since mine are in a laundry basket and a flower box, the potatoes like to snuggle down at the bottom, so you really have to dig in. Finding one is like discovering buried treasure. This was definitely my best year yet. I usually get the long skinny ones, but I also got a couple of rounder ones. Whoo hoo!
And the sweet surprise was that the little squash plant that grew by itself, literally next to a tree trunk, actually produced 2 little mini pumpkins. They are also called Jack-Be-Little, which is about as stinking cute as it gets. You can also eat them, but who knows what is in that dirt (hence my container garden), so I will just admire them. Here is one snuggling up to the sweet potatoes in the laundry basket.
And this is the plant, which looks like it’s growing out of the trunk. Crazy, right? Forget the Star Wars Force, the force of life right here on Earth is amazing. Hey tomatoes, pay attention! (Oh, and I mean don’t totally forget it, we need to be reminded about the Force in the winter, so Luke stick around.)
I’m playing Vegas odds with the butternut squash in the garden, cuz it’s my first time with it, and I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s mostly tan at this point, but not completely. The thick tan skin is supposed to help it keep all winter, but since I only have 3, do I really need to worry about that? Probably not. I’m going to give it a bit more time and also spy on my neighbors to see when they pick theirs. If frost threatens, I can easily scoop them up.
And because this gahdening bug has bitten me hahd, I also planted gahlic for next year. Depending on who you talk to and what YouTube videos you watch, I am either too early or too late. We’ll find out in about in about 8-9 months.
That’s a wrap. Now all I have to do is figure out what I’m gonna plant next year.