Sunday, September 25, 2016

Just A Light Kiss

Last evening had all of the indicators for an overnight frost.  After sunset the temperature plummeted and the clear darkened skies were filled with stars.  All of the tender plants that we intend to save were in pots in the basement.  We awoke this morning to find the air densely filled with fog.  River valley fog drops copious quantities of liquid moisture on every exposed surface.  If any frost had developed it was soon washed away.   An early walk through the garden near the house revealed no frost damage.  Basil leaves were free of black slime.  We have some doubt about the moon flower buds but rarely do they open here.

The garden by the woods told a slightly different story.  Only a few squash and pumpkin leaves were blackened by frost.  This garden is at a higher elevation and at a greater distance from the river.  River valley fog is less dense here and the damaged leaves were close to the ground.  Where the vines had climbed the fence all of the leaves escaped damage.  Only a few of the leaves closer to the ground were blackened by frost.  How one leaf dies while those nearby escape damage remains a mystery.

River valley fog is both a curse and a blessing.  Most September nights here had fog form.  Wet foliage is prone to develop powdery mildew and the low sun allows moisture to remain on some leaves into the afternoon..  The leaf in to picture shows only mildew spots but many nearby are totally spotted and dead.  These leaves had died at the hands of the fog while last night the fog saved nearly everything from frost.  With any luck we may see several frost free nights here.  Pesto season lives on.

The garlic bed is ready to plant.  This area supported only growth from missed potatoes this year.  Corn was scheduled to be planted here but the dryness of May told us not to bother.  We did weed the potatoes and harvested a respectable crop.  A measure of compost was raked in several weeks ago and the ground was allowed to rest nearly free of weeds.  Today well aged compost from the lower garden was mixed with Miracle-Gro potting soil.  We have never used potting soil in planting beds but our dear friend Helen does.  Her gift of garlic performed better here than anything else we planted.  Sixty planted cloves produced sixty healthy plants.  Not willing to argue with success and wanting to use her idea here, we parted with the big bucks.  The first layer of the compost mix was turned into the soil.  The second layer was left undisturbed at the surface.  When the cloves are planted in mid October we hope to find the soil lose enough to plant without another session with the potato hook.  It we need to do that it will bring new weed seeds to the surface.  When the garlic cloves are returned to the soil, we feel that next year's garden is actually underway.

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