Thursday, November 3, 2011

Killing frosts

Well, it took a little longer than usual. But we have officially had our killing frosts. The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are all kaput, lying brown and dead in the field. The most dramatic death goes to the Basil. The moisture in their stems froze, rupturing the stem and exploding out into spectacular ice crystals.

All of out greens have spent the week snug under double layers of row cover. The row cover moderates the climate around the plants by holding some of the ground heat close to them. Swiss chard, kale, radishes, and beets are all happy to keep on trucking in the cold. Even our lettuces have been doing well under cover.

The cold actually brings out some great flavor in fall vegetables. The beets are especially good. Last night I sliced beets thinly and tossed them with olive oil, powdered ginger, cinnamon, and a little salt. Then I roasted them at 350 until they were tender-delicious!

The fall is also a time of planting. Early this week I cleaned out the eggplant beds and reformed them. After pulling some weeds, adding some organic fertilizer and raking them nice and smooth, they are all ready for garlic. In the southeast garlic is a fall planted crop. It will sprout about 4-6 inches before it gets to cold to grow. Then it will sit dormant for the winter. In the spring it will begin growing as soon as the weather warms up enough. It is then ready for harvest next June.

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