Friday, October 9, 2009

Hard Frost in the Forecast!

Every market gardener dreads the call for hard frost. It means the end. (Most market gardeners are also slightly relieved because we're all worn out by the end of the season!) Last night's forecast called for a low of -6 C (about 20 F). Frost has actually come late to us this season. We've had a light touch a couple of times, but last night was harsh. Even winter squash can be damaged at that temperature and although it wouldn't really affect the quality of the vegetable, it looks ugly and people don't want to buy it. So, Farmer Boy got really, really busy yesterday. All day and right into the evening with a flashlight, he was cutting squash and pumpkins, loading the tractor and hauling it up to the garage. I picked tomatoes and peppers. Fortunately, Serhiy was here to help; he started out on potatoes and then moved to beans. We ignored root vegetables like carrots and beets, and abandoned the potatoes because they will all be fine.

The very sad thing about yesterdays' harvest is that there is still sooooo much out in the fields that will largely go to waste. We have boxes and boxes of green to orange to red tomatoes; and there were so many more. In this funny growing season the tomatoes should have been full on by the end of August but are ripening slowly through September and into October. The peppers were still flowering, thanks to the warm temperatures at the end of September. We know we've done everything we can - the rest will provide some nice treats for the local deer, mice and gophers!

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