The long-range forecast last week indicated it would continue to be above normal for the season in temperature but things quickly took a turn and by Thursday the forecasters could hardly contain themselves, predicting as much as an inch of snowfall overnight Friday into Saturday morning. Maybe because I was already starting to feel not quite right Friday afternoon, when I got home from work I put on my wellies, grabbed a big bowl and went out to the garden and picked everything including green tomatoes. Even if it didn’t snow and we only got frost, covering the tomatoes and peppers would not have worked because everything was wet from three days of intermittent rain showers.
Of course, you know it didn’t snow. It didn’t even freeze. Sure, there was a light frost on the rooftops and car windshields, but the frost did not make it down to the ground. But if I had left everything out in the garden there would have been a hard freeze and I’d be kicking myself for letting the remaining tomatoes and peppers go to waste. Sometimes there is no way to win.
I bought a pound of seed garlic in the midst of summer. I received it in the mail about the second week of September. I have been patiently waiting for it to be cold enough to plant it — that often elusive time between frost and the ground freezing when the bulbs can settle in but not start growing. This morning, bundled up in a jacket warmer than I normally would have chosen to appease Bookman who was threatening to lock me in the house, I supervised as he planted the cloves. Then we spread the bucket of worm compost I have been saving just for the occasion since the end of August. When the leaves fall from Melody Maple Tree, I will pile some on top of the plot to keep the ground insulated from freezes and thaws so the cloves don’t get heaved out and ruined.
Other than a few chores around the edges of the garden that meet sidewalk or pathway to make it easier to shovel snow whenthe time comes, gardening season is over. It has been a good year and I have learned a lot. It was also nice to see some of my work paying off with a bumblebee nest in my compost bin and monarch butterfly caterpillars on my milkweed and a chrysalis that hatched. Birds everywhere, including hummingbirds. A raccoon family repeatedly raiding my little pond. Using fabric row cover and nylon socks to actually grow sweet corn that I got to eat and the squirrels didn’t. But then they got me back by eating my sunflowers.
The garden continues busy with birds and squirrels. The juncos have been flitting about and eating seeds from coneflowers and asters along with a few late goldfinches. And today two blue jays visited for awhile. And the sparrows are everywhere too.
Of course, part of putting the garden to bed is also planning for next year. I did so much better at keeping a journal this year than last, and I have pages of notes and lists of plants and ideas of things to try. As I look forward to a winter of rest I am also already excited about spring.
Thanks for sharing the gardening season with me!