Sunday, October 14, 2012

Phase change

Well, we had one shot of cold air and an overnight freeze Saturday morning. Warm air moved right back in but it was enough to kill the tender plants. The basil looked beautiful and green Friday afternoon, but it was a blackened mess Saturday morning. Parsley and mint are still growing, of course, and it wasn't enough to knock the leaves off the trees or even stop the grass from growing. Strange how some plants have the anti-freeze and others can't handle a whiff of frost.

Anyhow . . . I planted garlic today. I dug the whole patch by hand and carefully preserved the volunteers. They tend to show up in clumps of five or more. Once I'd pulled them apart, I had almost enough to plant the whole bed. I didn't have anything like that last year, and I wasn't expecting it - I thought I'd harvested pretty thoroughly. Maybe this is what happens when you run a garlic bed for two years. I did have a couple of rows left over to plant with bulbs I harvested in the summer, but for the most part, what I thought was going to be my seed stock is now in the pantry. Scampi tonight.

It was a hell of a lot of work, by the way. I'd neglected the bed since the harvest so I had to root out a lot of sod and weeds. I added sand and chickenshit last year and found it still wasn't well mixed, so I dug the bed twice. The sand is to make the soil more root-vegetable friendly but the soil is still pretty gummy. I may add more next year. Don't tell my hippie friends but I inherited a bag of Vigoro from my father so I added some of that. I hope to get even better results next year.

I don't look forward to winter, to be honest. But it's necessary. It's what makes New England New England. And the annual rhythm of chores is how I know I live here.

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