A Killing Frost

Reader Contribution by Erin Sheehan
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The garden looks pretty barren these days. We had a hard frost Monday night. It did in almost everything we had left in the garden: the last cherry tomato, a cilantro patch, and three basil plants I’d hoped somehow might make it through.

Oddly, my lettuce survived. It’s in a container pushed up against our concrete garage. This means we’ve had lettuce consistently since May. We’ve got milder weather forecast for a while now, so I may be picking lettuce until November!

A few crops are hanging on: broccoli, carrots, beets, cabbage and collard greens. The collards actually are better after a frost, we’ve been waiting to pick them for a while now.

We’ve had quite a few “lasts” in the past couple of weeks. We ate our last fresh zucchini and fresh green beans last night, our last slicing tomato on Sunday and our last cherry tomato on Tuesday. It’s very sad, but in a way I’m happy for the freedom we can now enjoy. Since April we’ve been completely tied to the garden. The planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, putting up for winter that has consumed us for the past six months finally draws to a close now that the days are short and the nights are cold.

We still have a few chores: we have to plant garlic and freeze winter squash and pumpkins. Jim has to rototill the garden and plant winter rye as a cover crop. We have some squash vines to clean out. But those are all minor things. Mostly it’s time to put our feet up and relax with a book by the fire. And I don’t mean a gardening how-to book, either!