Tag Archives: frost

October fly by

If September was a “slide through” then October was a “fly by,” bringing another amazingly productive season to a close of sorts, in spite of all the freakish weather in early summer; neither was it particularly warm.  Spaghetti squash always brings up the rear with some added poundage, and the chanterai mini-canteloupes did exceptionally well at the end of the season.

The lettuce weathered our first frost well, which then reminded me that a hoop frame was needed pronto.  So, this is our new addition to the CG, to help prolong the lettuce and greens production for awhile. It seems that here, it isn’t always the cold that rots the lettuce, but excess moisture on the leaves.  We’ll see how it goes.  I think there are some slugs hanging out in there.

new PVC hoop frame cover for the greens

We’ve got the final bounty tally for the season, and won’t be keeping track again until spring, even if we pull in hordes of lettuce.

October harvest tally:

  • Charentai melon: 13.5 pounds
  • Cucumbers: 3
  • Acorn squash: 5
  • Spaghetti squash: 19.5

Total:  53 pounds
Season Grand Total: 526 pounds!
About 100 pounds less than last year as it turns out. Oh well. Best tomato harvest yet!

Gratitude and blessings to all Beings who brought for this bounty! Time for devas and elementals to get some rest!

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April…come what May

April….spring….is always shifty in relation to weather, but this year feels less normal “than normal”.  This isn’t surprising to some of us who can feel the invisible shift in planetary energetics.  Strong fluctuations of Earth’s geomagnetic fields, episodes of solar winds, coinciding with increased tectonic activity around the world, just might influence weather patterns and people’s energy, though we won’t hear of it via traditional technology or the media.

Slowly but surely there is growth. The large overwintering kale doesn't count....

April has taken forever to get through; it seems like eons ago that we put in our first cool-crops in the CG.  Happily, they germinated well despite heavy rains just after seeding.  They have survived several episodes of hail, heavy rain and wind storms, frost, and “much lower than average” temperatures for the month.  We could call it….Apruary.  Somehow February and April got mixed up. But the sporadic days of sun between storms have brought us snippets of warmth, enough for the plants to show some substance, so initial thinnings were just made.  Love those tasty kale, lettuce, spinach, and pea sprouts! I decided to try potatoes again this year, so planted them last week.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a decent crop.  I think I heard something about a warming trend in early May.  Yes! Please, oh please.

Aspen beginning his tentative first outdoor explorations: his motto seems to be "always safer to hunker down and watch".

Where's Juniper? Where's Aspen? We know you're there....somewhere.

So, what is the current bumper crop? Weeds!

Frosty garden limbo

Freezing fog has kept the area chilly, with few sun breaks, sometimes only an hour before dusk.  Still, it is easier maneuvering through the garden than in pouring rain.  It appears the kale survived the earlier arctic wave without protection…hooray!  Not that it is actually doing anything except sitting in limbo.  The soil temperature (at 3-inch depth) is still hovering between 38 and 40°.  Brrrr…

Christmas has brought us a lovely break in this monotony, with the sun breaking through by mid-morning; nippy day, with only 7 degrees difference between the high and low temperatures, but the radiance was welcomed by many.

A circus of birds paraded through the yard at times: a swarm of bushtits, a couple of goldfinches, chickadees, and yellow-rumped warblers, plus the usual raucous starlings.  The two resident hummingbirds were squeaking away merrily, zipping in to feed when the other wasn’t looking.

A new gift “for the garden” is a heat mat for growing seedlings.  It will fit perfectly in my kitchen garden window.  Now I can grow some chanterai (mini-canteloupes) and margarita melons.  Now to redesign the bed…..

Solstice greetings! It's sleepy time for the garden. Where's Juniper?

An arctic wave to end the season

The full moon on December 2nd heralded a phase of turbulence that has only eased itself with a slow return to more seasonal, wet weather.

The day was busy enough as it was, coming home from work to prepare a meal for friend Jack, just out of knee surgery.  Old Cedar-cat had been having a very difficult week since Thanksgiving, and there was always a good amount of ritual cleanup to do.  Meanwhile, we were warned of an imminent plunge of night temps, having already had a couple of frosty nights.  The lettuce and chard needed to come out, but I needed more time.  Neighbor Patty to the rescue, as if she read my mind!  With her help we plucked the lettuce and chard well after dark, leaving the leeks and kale to weather whatever might come.

The arctic wave extended well beyond its original few days, leaving us cold and dry (thank goodness, no ice) with night temperatures into the single digits.  It became too cold for frost, quite a rarity in these parts.  It will be interesting come spring to see what doesn’t make it through.  Though I kept them fairly sheltered, I hope the new pineapple guava seedlings in their containers make it!

But, all those positive ions that build up with continued high pressure get trapped down in the dense cold layer, and start making many people agitated, impatient, crabby, and extremely tired.  Where was our seasonal rain?

Relief was on the way as of December 11th, with a noticeable pressure shift and cloud cover moving in. The tricky part in western Oregon is maneuvering through the “transition zone” since freezing rain is frequently a visitor.  There was a quagmire of accidents once the ice formed during that night into the next day, but it passed quickly.  My skin in finally relaxing and feeling less dehydrated!

Juniper-kitty thought it would be fun to jump out the door per her normal routine, but didn’t bargain for the immediate skating she had to try out.  At first perplexed, she then thought it a bit fun, making tiny runs on the concrete to see if she slid.  However, that quickly became old as she became more intent on walking through the yard, where she had more traction on the soil.

Wouldn’t you know?  My camera decided to go on the fritz while trying to take some pictures.

A good time to list the bit of November’s bounty, and call it the final tally for 2009:

  • Lettuce:    6.5 (pounds)
  • Kale:         1
  • Chard:      3.5
  • Leeks:      0.75

Month’s Total: 11.25

Total season bounty:  579 pounds (rounded)  Well done!

Classy evening wear

Just because we harvested all the basil the evening before a cold rain was supposed to dowse us, the storm skirted north, depositing its brief, but heavy showers while I was slipping the last plants.  I wasn’t going to take the chance of seeing our beautiful plants become black-spotted before harvest!

Instead, dry, but cooler weather has prevailed, allowing the summer squash to keep pushing out more small “gourmet size” fruits, while several yellow bell peppers have actually yielded a couple of large, still-green specimens.  (Perhaps they felt it necessary to prove themselves after finding themselves mentioned in a “comedy of errors” mode.)  Tomatoes are in absolute limbo with the lower sun angle and night temperatures hovering in the low to high 30’s.  They have earned the right to wear evening jackets!

Evening wear for classy tomatoes

Classy evening jackets for the tomatoes

Happy to report that the lettuce seedlings that had nearly been chomped to death before evacuation of the kale and chard, have pulled through and are starting to put on a little girth.  And, some rainbow chard seeded in July, largely sheltered by green beans and squash has grown up nicely, almost ready for picking.

Lo and behold, I came upon another “double-take” today while scouting about the patty-pan/saucer squash; that makes four pairs of fused veggies this season!

Double-take on patty-pan squash

Double-take on patty-pan squash

We’ve been warned about a rapid arctic front moving in just ahead of autumn rains setting in, and the weather guy’s last-minute prediction of 28° had two of us running out before dusk to clip off all the tomatoes.  It felt too warm to believe it could fall that low, but we weren’t going to get up at 4:00 am. to find out.  As it turned out, it only went down to the crisp 30’s again, but we’re further along in preparation for the temperature dive now postponed for a couple of days.