High 48 F
Low 37 F
The temperatures have turned remarkably colder with still no frost settling on the ground. I confess, I am tired of looking at the impatiens which in the summer provided cheery color. I did plant orange so at least they are blending with the fall colors but they look oddly out of place. The oak leaves seem to be dropping at a record pace. The oaks, white, red and pin, usually retain many of their leaves until the new buds push out in the spring. I seem to remember from a long ago botany class something about abscission layers* forming more thoroughly at the base of the leaves of deciduous plants when frost is delayed causing more leaf drop on those varieties which tend to hold their leaves through the winter. I have no time to thoroughly research this tidbit but the leaves are falling.
This weekend the vegetable garden begged for a clean up. The tomato plants have stopped producing and the vines have withered. The tomato cages were a big help this year as was the straw mulch which reduced the weeds and the need for constant hoeing although that is a rather gratifying task. The marigolds have yet to be frosted but since their demise is imminent and the garden needed lime and compost most of them had to go.
The Christmas beans on the tower did not develop and, in fact, only three seeds germinated. I was hoping to get a handful or two but this is a long season crop and there is just not enough time here for them to develop properly. I will try a different type next year, maybe soldier beans. I had much less of a problem with pests this year. I added calendula and marigolds as companion plantings which are supposed to attract beneficial predators and I think they did their job. Squash bugs do remain a problem but I am determined to find a good, organic solution and starting with a thorough cleanup of plant debris can only help. The parsley is still growing strong and the arugula and swiss chard will be put in the cold frame next weekend. I have a feeling that once it turns cold here, it will stay cold. The basil looked ragged but the fragrance remained and when I pulled the still green but leafless stalks from the garden for a ride to the compost pile summer returned for an instant. I mentioned in a previous post how many worms I have in the compost.
When you think of worms, the word 'fast' does not come immediately to mind as a description of their activity but these worms are frenzied and remarkably fast. Each shovel of compost reveals a good amount of worms who, immediately upon their exposure to light, wiggle and dive back into the depths of the pile.
Cleaned out and ready for next year, the veggie garden has served us well this summer. The white plastic visible in the picture is a row tunnel which I will pull over the parsley to extend its' season. The beleaguered corn patch, which ended up producing a couple dozen butternut squash, some pumpkins and embraced the extra tomato plants, was tilled and planted with winter rye.
The GFSD in the background shows to good effect at this time of year and through the winter. I have ordered more bulbs to continue the 'river' and the pick ax is sharpened and ready for digging. Another busy weekend comes to a close with a few more garden tasks accomplished. I still have the scent of marigolds tickling the memories of past seasons' garden cleanup.
I love the smell of marigolds, Pungent, clear and reminding me of Dad and his garden which was never without marigolds. Why did I wait so long to add them to ours?
* This from The U. S. National Arboretum website:
area at the base of a leaf stalk, fruit stalk, or a branch in which a
layer of loose cells that are poorly attached to each other develops;
the abscission layer causes a leaf, fruit, flower, or other plant part
to fall away from a plant