Sunday, October 5, 2014
As expected, we woke up to find the ground heavily coated with frost. Our lettuce plants should have been covered but we were unable to do that. Some leaves are damaged and they will be pinched off. We hope that new growth will continue to put fall lettuce on the dinner table.
Becky ventured out early to wash the frost off of the lettuce leaves before the sun hit them. Stepping on frost hardened brittle leaves results in blacken footprints. Following the trail, you can trace her path to the hydrant and then to the lettuce plants. Today we covered the plants and moved the two trays of lettuce into the basement. We will see what tomorrow brings. The chance of frost should disappear for awhile after tonight.
This bed still had some basil plants growing in it this morning. Growing is hardly an accurate term but now they are gone. Hardwood leaves served as mulch here and they functioned well. Weed growth was nearly nonexistent. Removing the mulch and the frost burned basil leaves together was a pleasant task. The soil has been turned and will be left bare. Exposed to the harshness of the coming season, we hope some weed seeds, insects and disease will be lessened. A goal is to have the entire garden in that condition but the frost blackened buckwheat in the next bed clearly shows that we have much work to do.
The garden near the woods included one hill of butternut squash and one hill of pie pumpkins. Each hill was seasoned with aged alpaca manure. The soil nearby was covered with grass clippings. Those preparations are typical while this harvest is exceptional. That difference must be the result of generous rain that fell here this summer. We cannot begin to eat all of this produce. Squash, pumpkins and potatoes will be delivered to a nearby food bank.
We usually get hit with frost in late September. This killer was a little late but not unexpected. If we are lucky, the frost was severe enough to end some of the biting insects. We expect to have six more weeks of workable soil in front of us. If the bugs are indeed gone, these will be some of the best work days of the year.