Sign Me Up For Next Year!

We still haven’t received The Killing Frost but we did get our first one last Tuesday. I woke up to frost on the rooftops and a thin sheet of ice on the bird bath.

Of course, there is a world of difference between the first frost and the first killing frost. While a few plants wilted and won’t recover, including the cosmos and the beans, most carried on unscathed.

But then I looked at the forecast and saw something horrible on the horizon.

Snow.

Aaaahhhhhhhhhh and also, Nooooooooooo!

With nothing but coolish temperatures between now and the “S” word I harvested the pumpkins and the tomatoes.

I was astonished to find 21 little pumpkins hiding beneath all that foliage. And here I thought I had done such a good job of thinning them out to only half a dozen so the chosen few would have a chance to ripen before winter!

At best I am hoping they will ripen and so I can make soup, pie filling and roast some seeds.  At worst I am hoping they will at least turn a bit orange so I can make a few autumn displays out of them. We will see.

The three tomato plants yielded a few buckets worth. That was the good news. The bad news is they were all still green except for one little fellow…

I see a lot of fried green tomatoes in our future.

And hopefully a greenhouse!

Right now I have the tomatoes spread out and covered with newspaper and am hoping, like the pumpkins, they will still slowly ripen.

I often confess that I garden because I like the feeling of being in control. I like dreaming up a garden and then putting all the plants exactly where I want them and experiencing the thrill of seeing what started out as a picture in my mind and few sketches on paper, coming to fruition.

Of course, as with everything in life, control is nothing but a fragile illusion.

Gardening is equally a lesson in humility and the acceptance of the things you have no control over, as well as an opportunity to participate in miracles.

To which I can only say…sign me up for next year!

 

The Rabbits (?) and I agree…The colour purple tastes awesome!

An obvious downside of having ones vegetable garden, potager style, in the front yard is the lack of a fence. Or that’s the downside of mine anyway.

Yesterday I discovered a couple of the purple cabbage out front had been the focus of a feast for some unknown critter. I am guessing a rabbit because a couple of  weeks ago I witnessed a deer nibble on a cabbage leaf and then spit it out with a comically disgusted look on his face.

You have to admit whoever enjoyed the cabbage did a very neat job of nibbling it. That is probably a tell-tale indication for someone who knows the browsing habits of deer vs rabbits, but I don’t have a clue.

 

I don’t really begrudge the opportune feast. We all share this world and sometimes that means sharing cabbages. That said, I may not know who ate a couple of the cabbages but I do know who will be eating the ones that are left!

It’s harvest time.

Speaking of harvest and cabbages, another disadvantage to having vegetables in a front yard potager garden is that everyone can see you, should they choose to look.

I am desperately hoping no one was looking as I started my cabbage harvest.

I approached the first cabbage, grabbed its stem and pulled. Hard.

Nothing happened.

It never fails to amaze me how tightly those roots hold to the ground. No doubt a rabbit was lurking nearby snickering at my efforts. If she was, what happened next would have delighted her.

I redoubled my efforts and pulled harder, only to have the cabbage suddenly release itself from the garden sending me turtling over backwards onto my back, cabbage hugged to my chest and legs flailing in the air.

I scrambled back onto my knees and began peeling the outer leaves away from the cabbage head, trying to look nonchalant, as if this were simply the way I chose to harvest my cabbages and I had planned to land on my back all along.

I am happy to report that the rest of the cabbages were carefully pried from the ground with a bit more dignity.

Sort of.

After it was all said and done, last night’s menu featured the colour purple…and a few small purple bruises to match, as well as a slightly bruised ego.

No pain, no gain, right?

All worth it!

No Ordinary Strawberry

Berried Treasure TM Red Strawberry Fragaria ananassa

I was given a strawberry plant to trial in my garden this summer and I have to say I am impressed. It is rated as Zone 4a so in our Zone 2b or not 2b climate, wintering it over will be iffy, but I have my fingers and toes crossed because this one is a beauty.

Despite being its first season in the garden, this plant bloomed right from the get go.

Normally I would pluck off the blossoms to ensure healthy roots for maximum production next year, but since I am not sure it will live to see another spring, I just let it do what it wanted.

And what it wanted to do was bloom and bloom and then after that, bloom some more.

red strawberry blossom

The blooms on Berried Treasure TM are even redder than they look in this picture. Each one is like a perfect miniature rose.

The transition from bloom to strawberry seems to be a bit slower than for a regular berry, or maybe it is just that the blooms stop me in my tracks and demand attention, so I notice them for what seems like a longer space of time.

Either way, the longevity of the blooms are a good thing.

As you have no doubt surmised, the Berried Treasure TM strawberry’s claim to fame is in its unusual large, decorative blooms.

The strawberries it produces are tasty, but not as flavour packed as my Seascape or Kent standbys. But when something looks this gorgeous and blooms pretty much continuously from June to September with no sign of slowing down, it seems a bit petty to fault it for not being as flavourful as an ordinary strawberry.

Obviously, this isn’t an ordinary strawberry.

Berried Treasure TM is slated to hit the spring market in 2019. It would make a great addition to containers or flower borders, even if it just survives as an annual.

But I am hoping it will rise back up in the spring, all green, sassy and happy, ready to produce another season of berries and beautiful blooms.

 

Disclaimer – Proven Winners sends me a few free plants every year to trial in my garden but I am under no obligation to write about them and receive no additional compensation for doing so.