Friday, September 18, 2009

Jack Frost has been packing his suitcase...

... and if you live in the northern hemisphere then he's heading for a return to a town near you if he hasn't been already.

It's the time of year to hurry up and take in the pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, basil and other tender plants. Pull up and store those tender ornamentals too such as cannas, dahlias, and glads. If like me, you plant out half hardy herbs like bay larel and rosemary, they should come in soon too though they will live through a couple light frosts. Go, go, go, that white crystalline sheen does not respect busy schedules.

Lettuce in seed with red orach in the background.

Plants know it. Long ago, my corn salad and orach went to seed. Dry beans are rattling in their pods, lettuce and carrots sport their decorative seedhead fringes and my magenta spreen and bietina (type of swiss chard) have their mysterious green spikes that must look all the world like weeds to my neighbours. I self consciously assured the conservative gardening neighbour that I was saving seed from actual vegetables. I think she believed me and told me she didn't look over at my yard anyhow... (No really, she's a lovely lady but I don't blame her as the garden is looking a little bit dishelved at the moment).

Carrots in seed - easy to see that they are related to queen anne's lace also known as wild carrot.

The flow of ripe tomatoes which has been gaining speed for the last couple weeks is slowing down now. I will probably cover a few choose plants with blankets if it looks like we'll get a week or more of nice weather afterwards. As my hubby says, "Tomatoes are the ultimate seasonal fruit. You got to eat them when they taste good because soon they'll just be tasteless ice balls from the supermarket. Not worth it."

Magenta Spreen, a member of the goosefoot family, in seed. Think of it as a supersized lamb's quarters in party dress.

So today I'm going to be busy.

But the gardening season is far from over as my blush savoy cabbage is turning a lovely shade of purple and the kale keeps on pumping out leaves. Perennial onions, that melted in the heat of summer, have renewed vigor, pushing up green spires alongside the chrysanthemums that are in full bud just begining their dazzling show.

Buckwheat in seed. I grow it as a covercrop though of course it make a good grain too.

So when is Jack coming to Ottawa? Weather stations predict possible lows between 2-4C this weekend sometime, possibly even tonight. Anything 4C and lower is a possibility of frost especially in low lying spots as the temperature is read approximately 4 feet off the ground. It will decrease about a degree every foot down so it could be 0C at ground level. Other conditions favourable to frost are still winds and clear skies. And when he comes, you'll be sure that he too will make his complementary visit to "The Hill.*"


*The Hill: The rest of the country has a bad habit of calling the government Ottawa. Since not all the residents of Ottawa are employed by the government, it is often referred to as The Hill here since parliament resides on a slight rise in the landscape, cut behind it by a percipitous fall toward the Ottawa river.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

We swapped tomato seeds and you sent me some principe borghese seeds this spring. I grew 3 plants, 2 in the ground and one in a pot. They all did really well and have lots of small plum shaped tomatoes with cute little points on the end. I had read that they didn't taste really good fresh but they were great dried but these taste good straight from the garden. I am saving some seeds for next year. I like the ones with pointy ends so that is what I am saving from. I don't know what principe borghese should look like and there seems to be quite a bit of variation in the seed catalogues so I'll go with what I like. Thanks again for the seeds. Hope the frost stays away for a little longer. Thanks again.