Thursday, November 17, 2016

Going Under Cover

As we approach the night of the Hard Freeze some preparations must be made. A final harvest goes underway for tender things, such as peppers, beans, etc. Anything that I intend to take into the winter must go under cover.
Most of these cold-hardy things are leafy greens and roots, with the exception of the broccoli. Today (Thursday) I cleaned up the winter beds, removing weeds and yellowed leaves, then mulched it all with fresh hay. At the end of the day several of the beds were put under plastic to hold in enough heat to keep them going when the weather gets cold. However, I'm not posting to say stuff. I'm posting to show you stuff. I try to be humble, but I cannot help but feel a bit proud of how beautiful these vegetables are, so I want to show you a few pics before everything goes under cover,

To your left you can see beets, lettuce, purple mustard and way in the background some lush radicchio. The white plastic pipes bent over the bed now support 6 mil plastic that will serve as a mini-greenhouse to keep these beauties going well into winter. It heats up pretty good when the sun is out, so when days are on the warm side I will have to open the ends to prevent the plants from becoming overheated.

The chard is so gorgeous right now. Look at the vibrancy of color in this red rhubarb chard. I took several pictures of the chard. I couldn't help myself. So beautiful. But you don't want to see a blog full of chard.

Part of the harvest... red beets, white daikon radish, orange carrots. Also in my harvest baskets you could find kale, lettuce, arugula...

And Cabbage! My bare foot for size comparison. Yes I was barefoot in the garden on Nov. 17, but I won't be tomorrow when the chill hits.

Tomorrow (Friday) the harvest will include a few green beans, red raspberries and
chard. Couldn't let the blog go by without showing you one more beautiful chard. After Saturday most of the chard will be gone, except for what I throw blankets over just to get them through the hard freeze until I can make space in the refrigerator for all that chard.

Cooler than summer temps, but an extended season of warmth has been the perfect recipe for all of the cool-season crops, especially members of the cabbage/mustard family. The chinese cabbage and bok choy did wonderfully. I couldn't resist photographing the interesting architecture of this white bok choy.

In the photo below (the last one in this post) you can see some baby bok choy in the background, behind the ruffly lettuces.


I wish I didn't have to tuck them all away so I could just stand and look at them. After we drop our temperature to 25 (the last forecast) we'll have a week with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. Technically they could all come out again under those conditions. I might uncover them for the rain that we're supposed to get next week.

Or not. We'll see how lazy I am when  the time comes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facing the End

It's not every year that I can barefoot garden during the second week of November. Everything in the garden has loved the extended warm season. The billowy mounds of nasturtiums (above) just kept growing and growing, overflowing the raised beds like rising bread dough gone out of control. We picked and picked and picked the colorful and tasty flowers, gathering armloads (ok, just handfuls) of blossoms for every meal. They made even ho-hum dishes look fabulous.

This photo is what they looked like a couple of weeks ago, before they reached their peak growth. Since then, frosty weather has trimmed them a bit. I covered most of them against the frost, but when the two mornings of below-freezing temps came, even those tucked in beneath sheets and blankets got burned a bit. Those that were not covered have melted into a mess. We're still picking blossoms off of the plants that were covered, though.

This weekend, all that will come to an end. Right now our Sunday morning temperature is forecast at 25 degrees Fahrenheit (several degrees below zero for you Celsius fans). I'm not even going to try. Goodbye nasturtiums...

And goodbye bell peppers, so lovely and sweet. I will grudgingly pick the green ones before Friday night (because it's going to be 27 degrees F. on Saturday morning). The green beans have already gone to a better place, as have a few other things.

And this week I'm winterizing those things that I intend to take into winter -- Cabbages, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach, daikons, radicchio, arugula, purple mustard... who have I forgotten?

Tomorrow I start draping plastic over the beds, after watering and then mulching with hay. How sweet it was, this extended season. But that sweetness will soon end. Then it's on to another season.

Tomorrow I will take photos of all the lovelies before they get covered. I hope I will also post them tomorrow. Tonight you will just have to dream about the beautiful lettuce and vibrant purple mustard, Sweet dreams.