Sunday, October 15, 2006

First Frost

We had our first frost this week, and I'd come up with a pretty good plan for protecting our late season crops. I found some pex piping, water pipe, that comes in 100' rolls at the local home improvement warehouse. We were able to cut that to length pretty easily with a pipe cutter to create a low hoop-style row cover, which I then covered with some old sheets.

Voila! Instant row cover, which worked quite well and none too soon. Being outside, working together and watching the cold front move in—the change in the light, the sky, the wind, the temperature—was really amazing. The next morning the basil was totally zapped anywhere that wasn't insulated. The beans were a bit more hardy, but the new growth still took a hit.

We harvested the last of our green tomatoes and green peppers, and I just put up a huge batch of green beans. I was able to save the basil from the middle of the plants and pull together one last big batch of pesto for freezing, and I got a bunch of this second batch of dill vacuum sealed and frozen to pull out over the winter—it makes a delicious dijon sauce for salmon among many other things. Jules is going to miss coming out in the morning to harvest raspberries, but man, is she going to love it next year when we hopefully have more than just a handful. I can't wait to make jam!


Ophelia said...

Hi Danielle! I read your blog entry about protecting your crops with great interest. Looking at your pictures, I see that you and your family have a lot of vegetables and herbs, and if I had that much, I would do all I can to protect them too. We've never been successful at keeping our crops from freezing, even though it doesn't get that cold down here where we live in Virginia. We usually just let them go when the season is over. Plus, we only have a few beds, so it's not that big of a deal.

My primary interest right now is expanding our blueberry plantation. We have some raspberries too, like you, but we only have enough to feed our ducks, as a special treat for them. Raspberries don't grow too well here, except if we find enough shade. Otherwise it gets too hot for them. We're getting a bunch of blueberry shoots from a friend who is selling their house and moving to North Carolina, and we're really excited about getting more plants! Love seeing your pictures and I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Danielle said...

My greens and peas are still going strong, and I'm thrilled! Silly huh? Feels like such an accomplishment having fresh food in November!

I'm using my kitchen garden as an organic nursery for those things I can't afford/ can't buy organic. I'll be moving a bunch of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries out of there onto a larger plot—I hope.

I can't wait until my blueberries start producing. I have 7 plants, and I feed them my coffee grounds every week to keep them nice and acidic. They're planted around our yard as part of my edible landscaping project.

The hardest thing about the fruit trees is how long they take to mature. It's hard to wait! I'm trying to espalier my apples and pears, so I'm hoping I might get production a year or so earlier than if they were just growing naturally.

Can't wait to read all about your blueberries!

Ophelia said...

Danielle, I will be posting all about the transplanting of our blueberries in my blog soon. We're still waiting for all the leaves to drop before we dig them up from our friend's place and move them to ours. Should be real soon.

I agree about the long wait for fruits. We planted some of our fruit trees the first year we got to our house (that was in 2002), and some of them the year after. We've harvested some fruits already in the past couple of years, like a dozen per tree, which isn't a whole lot yet, but it's still pretty exciting. Don't worry, it will be well worth the wait!

Getting to have fresh food in November is definitely thrilling, especially since it's from your own garden. You can't beat that! Wanna hear something funny? There was once a solicitor that stopped by our house trying to sell us fresh foods - I forget the name of the company. But they said they had the freshest fruits and vegetables, fresher than what you can get at a supermarket. So I told them that our family has our own orchard and vegetable and herb garden, so no thanks. But guess what! They really don't stop. They claimed that their fresh produce is even "fresher than what you can get from your own garden"! Excuse me? I told them to please leave. We are not interested, but thank you.