One crisp, foggy morning last week, I noticed this beautiful spiderweb on my deck. The sunlight bounced off the dew on the web and I just knew I had to get a photograph of it.
I stepped out onto the deck, which was very wet with dew, and started snapping photos.
And that’s when I started to hear this weird noise. I could hear it moving like a wave across the woods and swamp behind my house, across my deck. It was a gentle cracking sound with a rustling of leaves that sounded almost like those rain sticks the kids like to play with.
And then I realized what that noise was. FROST! Everything was instantly covered in thin layer of ice. I could watch it cross the deck, and it reminded me of Jack Frost in Rise of the Guardians.
Just one little problem. I didn’t cover my garden!
Yes, I knew there was a frost advisory for my area. But our local weather forecasters take a “the sky is falling” approach to forecasting that I just didn’t want to believe that it was going to happen.
But here’s the thing. I had kind of already made peace with my garden coming to an end. It just wasn’t a good year for my garden. We got a late start because winter took forever to leave. Half of my tomato plants died within weeks of planting them. We had a stretch of cold, wet weather, and then a stretch of hot and dry weather. I had more weeds than ever. I planted my carrots too close together and didn’t thin them enough (again). My dog ripped out two of my bean plants chasing a shrew. (Darn, terrier! AGAIN.) My broccoli produced only tiny little buds – only two heads of broccoli from 8 plants.
The only real garden successes? We had more cherry tomatoes than we could keep up with, and I was able to pick and freeze more than a gallon of wild raspberries.
The first frost didn’t cause too much damage. The soil was still warm enough that I’ll probably still be able to get a few more beans and carrots. And broccoli seems to like the cold. The tomatoes took the most direct hit, but we enjoyed plenty of them during the summer.
So I’m okay with the arrival of the first frost of the season. I know a true frugal person would have been meticulous about covering the plants, perhaps even establishing a mini greenhouse or some kid of cold frame to prolong the growing season. But I’m not a farmer. And I have never had much of a green thumb. It’s been pretty busy around here, and I’m looking forward to letting the garden slip off the list of things that need my attention.
The food that we were able to harvest from our garden more than paid for the amount of money we invested in it, and the flavors were amazing. That is what makes my little garden plots worth it.
As they say in baseball, there’s always next year.
Christina Brown says
It’s true that we had many obstacles this year in the garden. I got a little feisty with Mother Nature and pulled a few tricks on the old girl. The bottom line is I had the most productive garden I have ever had this year–it just took a heap of TLC to get there.
Something I learned about broccoli fails is to back up and realize that hey, I don’t eat one big lump of broccoli, I break it into small pieces. That being said, if your broccoli doesn’t produce a big fat head, lop it off, feed the plant and pick the side shoots. I just picked another batch of shoots off the same plants I’ve been growing since Spring. They are ugly little guys but still producing food so they are not in the compost pile.
I found that the constant picking concept worked on a lot of crops that people think of as “one hit wonders” I am now a convert to the school of thought, “Plant it once and pick it ’til it freezes!” The trick with greens is to never let anything flower and the plant will keep trying. I have been picking celery, swiss chard, green beans, spinach and kale from the same plants all season long. You just have to shade them when it gets hot, cover them when it gets cold and stop believing that size matters–it all eats well.
Christina Brown says
Belinda, you are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing what you’re doing… I need to make more of an effort to extend the life of my little gardens.