The first frost, in this case a near-frost, is the ending point of the summer garden, and for me it arrived last week but as the weather was miserable and damp, I didn’t get out there until this week to start the grand clear up. So I started, and ended, with the veggie patch.
The main issue was the tomato patch where most of the vines had died. There were an abundance of little cherry tomatoes that had fallen from the vines but hadn’t been noticed over the past months and those were cleared up too. What did surprise me rather was that even though we had a light dusting of frost over the grass away from the house, the grafted tomatoes were still quite healthy. I have put this down to them being so robust and bushy that maybe the inner leaves were protected by the outer foliage. That however does not account for the fact that they are also putting out flowers even though the day length is short, and there are a few of those ripening. There are also some great calendulas that not only survived the 33 degrees but are still happily flowering in the mild October sunshine. There are even a few bugs that are attracted to the flowers but there really is nothing left in the garden that needs pollinating.
Of course the winter vegetables are still there of course and they give some color. I have some parsnips that are still going and some chard that I seeded back in August before we knew we were moving. I had all the good intentions of putting in kale, Brussels sprouts, lettuce etc. but they all withered during one of the extended house hunting trips to New Jersey. The weather has turned mild again giving lots of extra time for the garden, but until the first killing frost hits, I am happy to let the remaining perennials stay right where they are.