Friday, September 11, 2009

Garden update

As anyone who lives in the North Country knows, the potential for a killing frost for the gardens becomes more likely as the days tick away towards mid-September. The plants still continue their somewhat-slowed growth, seemingly unaware of what lies just ahead. The cucumbers, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, Yin Yang bush beans, and Butternut Squash stretch their tendrily fingers, bedecked with blossom rings, ever-forward toward fences and arbors, reaching to claim more of the space they occupy in the garden.

Pumpkins are taking advantage by day of what little is left of the warmth and sunshine, still sending out blossoms of gold despite evening temperatures dipping into the mid-forties and below. Other crops are submitting to the beginning of Autumn; the Spaghetti Squash, Garlic and Potato vines have withered and dried, offering their fruits as sacrifice and testimony of the time passed.

A smattering of blushing leaves have released themselves from the grasp of the red maple branches and pinned themselves to the mossy-green cloak of lawn... they beckon the others still on the trees to let go and follow along, for they know that cold winds are not far away, waiting to dislodge them all with one frosty breath.

Catnip and especially Basil are waiting to be harvested before frost blackens their leaves and takes away any will to survive. The Catnip has been nestled in a blanket of row-cover all season long, which offers protection from our seven marauding cats. Yet it will offer little protection from a heavy frost. Thus, this becomes a chore of necessity which must be tended to within the next few days.

When mom and I built the little greenhouse last October, she commented on how the cattle panels we were using in its construction would make ideal arbors for beans and gourds to climb on. Needless to say, when the garden went in this spring, so did the cattle panels. At about $20.00 per 16' X 4' panel, it proved to be a fairly inexpensive and very sturdy trellis for peas, pole beans, gourds, cucumbers and morning glories to meander up and over. They were easy to bend in half, and I secured them in the ground by driving a steel fencepost in the center of each side and using plastic cable ties to secure the panel to the posts. They stand easily 7' tall, and I kept them about 4' apart width-wise.

I would definitely recommend them for this purpose, and will absolutely use them again next year. They withstood the weight of birdhouse gourds which I planted on one side of a trellis. On the other side, I planted scads of Kentucky Wonder pole beans. The cattle panels didn't move in the winds, nor did they buckle or cave under the weight of the crops leaning on them. Out in the back garden entryway, I covered one arch with Hop's Vine and Morning Glories... both of which grew heavily and thickly to completely engulf the cattle panel. I can still grasp the top of the arch and hang my weight from it and it does not bend. I'm very pleased with mom's idea!

I am continuing to dig potatoes and garlic, and will soon need to start digging up some Jerusalem Artichokes. When it began raining this afternoon, I headed out to transplant over 100 autumn Forget-Me-Not plants and seedlings which had taken over a good chunk of the berry garden. I have some lovely fall Raspberries that are sending out still more side shoots, and because the berries are so large and prolific, I will transplant the

new shoots to a brand-new bed to get a good start for next year. So the rampant blue seedlings must go elsewhere. I'm appreciative of the gentle rain we've received this evening, and won't mind if it continues all night, for the sake of the transplanted flowers and a few fruit trees my brother brought up that I finally got around to planting the other day!

Tomorrow afternoon, there will be a Baby Shower here for Nicole, my middle son Jake's girlfriend. Sunday, we have plans to meader about the countryside in New York and Vermont for a Cheese Tour of Washington County. I'll bring my camera!
I will leave you now with a few more photographs from the garden today, and I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Til next time...

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