Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The zucchini this morning!
Truck of Hubbard
 Yikes! Yesterday, Tuesday, frost was predicted and for today, September 14, hard frost is predicted.  Yesterday being CSA day, it was hard to balance getting ready for CSA and preparing for frost.  We concentrated yesterday on the really delicate things like summer squash, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers.  Fortunately, our employee Henry was able to come back later in the day and, while we were meeting our CSAers and holding the wee Neighborhood Country Market, he was picking tomatoes like crazy.  He did an awesome job of picking and sorting, so that the golden are together, the paste types are together and so on!  We still have to 'deal' with them all, picking out the ripe, storing the unripe properly - but that will be another day.  There's something, roughly, like three hundred pounds of tomatoes out there!

After returning home from CSA, about 7:30 PM, we had a bite to eat, unloaded the truck and then Farmer Man put on his head lamp and went to harvest all the cantaloupe and watermelon.  He was out until well after dark.  It actually got colder than predicted: about -2 C with a 'feels like' value of -5 C (about 28 F, feeling like 22 F).  We woke up to frost on the grass and roof, and shrivelled plants all over!  Now, for those of you not in Manitoba, perhaps not even in Canada, frost on September 13th is not bad for us!  It has been known to come in August!  It has also been known to come as late as the end of October, so it was inevitable, but still too early for any gardener!  It was a harsh one, too; this was no light touch of frost!

Up this morning and back at it with an even colder evening predicted for tonight!  We had figured that root vegetables would all be all fine; winter squash could take one night, but probably not two of freezing temperatures.  Frost causes water-soaked areas where rot is more likely to start.  It wouldn't really affect the meat, but it makes them rather ugly and more prone to quick deterioration.  Our great selection of winter squash is a mainstay of our Farmers Market business through to the end of October, so worth spending a little time!  We had Carissa and Henry coming to pick potatoes, as we are trying to finish that harvest and get potatoes cured so that we can sell bigger bags for winter storage.  We got that done in toques and scarves.  A little rest and a snack and we were off to the north field, which holds carving pumpkins, Sugar Pie pumpkin, Hubbard squash and the popular Butternut.  Our Butternut have done awesome this year, but few are ripe!  We loaded the back of the truck with Hubbard and the related heirloom Boston Marrow, as well as ten gorgeous Halloween pumpkins.  The bucket of the tractor was stuffed with Butternut.  The truck was unloaded into the garage, and we returned to the field and stuffed it again, this time with more Hubbard and Butternut!  It was an afternoon and evening of cutting stems, picking up squash and carrying them to the truck.  Some of the Hubbard and a couple of the Boston Marrow were well over thirty pounds!  I didn't carry any of them.....

Back at the house, a wee rest, and back out!  Farmer Man took the head lamp and the tractor and went up to the Sugar Pie pumpkins.  He dropped me, drop clothes and a few crates at the lower field of winter squash.  I harvested or covered Australian Blue Pumpkin, Spaghetti and Delicata squash.  The Kabocha and Buttercup will have to fend for themselves - there was no more daylight, energy or drop clothes!  There were still goats and chickens to put to bed.  Farmer Man returned with a bucket load of pumpkins, which are all just parked in the barn.  The last truck load of Butternut and Hubbard was backed up to the garage and covered; there was no energy for unloading.  Now, we wait and tomorrow we'll see what the night brought us!  

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Hard frost already? I will keep my complaints to a minimum.

    Your day sounded like incredibly hard work, tell me you get a long winter's rest?