I’ve just this week been really reaping my tomato harvest at last. The bushes are loaded and every day I bring in heaping bowls of Big Beef, Golden Jubilee and especially that good little trouper, Juliet. Finally! We even took a bowl to the UU Church on Sunday, mixed with sliced cucumbers, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and whatever herbs were handy – basil, mint, chives and dill. And with two family gatherings this weekend – I thought I was all set.
And then the headline in the Star Tribune this morning – GARDENERS BEWARE EARLY PERFECT FROZEN STORM! What?
It goes on to say that “a bummer summer for gardeners could come to an abrupt end tonight” and “That’s a freeze, not a frost, as in limp black basil and cold-scarred tomatoes that rot instead of ripen”. I feel like whining. I followed the article’s guideline and pulled all the basil and intend to cover the tomatoes and those darn impatiens with sheets and hope for the best.
On another page of the paper, it advised me to “Grab a sweater. And the hose”. Evidently the lawn and perennials and all the trees need a good soaking now so that they are “well hydrated to handle the winter”. I’ve watered the tomatoes and herbs on a regular basis, and also the lovely rose, Sven, but I must admit I’ve treated the rest as if I was “dry farming”. So now I’m really in a panic. And with one lonely hose bib, I’ve set the sprinkler to cover one section per hour and just hope that’s enough. It also goes on to say that I should have fertilized in early September, but I can still do it this weekend as long as I’ve kept up my watering. Oops.
And as to the sweater part, I know I will be subjecting myself to guffaws and I-told-you-sos from many a Minnesotan, but right now, I’m really cold. And, yes, I know this is not COLD yet. But it is as cold today as it gets in the middle of a California winter and we haven’t even ordered our coats and boots from L.L. Bean yet. The birds know that somethings up. They have been eating us out of the proverbial house and home of late, and I swear we are spending more for seeds and suet than we are for bread and torsk. I’m assuming that they feel the need to put on lots of fat in preparation for the long flight south or just to withstand the approaching season and I’m hoping that the same porking-up treatment is not in the works for us. But right now it’s time to grab a sweater and go outside and change the water.