Thursday, October 7, 2010

The gardener as gambler

It's gambling season for Methow Valley gardeners.   The garden thermometer has read 32 degrees Fahrenheit on a couple of mornings, however my garden has not yet sustained a killing frost.  I honestly don't know why the tender plants haven't yet turned black, but I'll take my luck as long as it holds.

We've enjoyed lovely, warm days for the last week or so, and that's been enough to keep the tomatoes ripening, the zucchinis setting fruit (thanks to winged pollinators), and the pole beans blooming.  I've been watering the still-producing sections of the garden, too, which has kept those plants strong enough to withstand chilly nights.
purple pole beans

So, in what ways do I gamble in the garden?  Well, I didn't feel like gambling at all with the chiles when two weeks ago I harvested all peppers of an edible size.  Last year we had a killing freeze on September 21st which turned the peppers to mush, so this year I was more cautious.  I did, however, leave some smallish ones on the plants, and lo how they've grown in the last couple weeks!  That was a gamble that paid off.  Don't pull the plants if there's still hope for an Indian summer.

Every day I go out and assess the situation.  Do I pick all the baby beans, or wait another day?  Will these baby zucchinis get any bigger, or will they freeze tonight?  Shall I give the just-coloring-up Roma tomatoes another afternoon in the sunshine, or play it safe and harvest them all?  Our old-fashioned apple varieties actually benefit from a bit of frost, so I'll definitely wait for them to develop optimal flavor.

ripening Roma and Stupice tomatoes

1 comment:

  1. I heard that we would get down to 33 and then a week of warmer weather. oops -killer frost strikes again. thank God for the green tomato salsa recipe