Harvesting Before the Freeze

| 12/4/2017 10:17:00 AM

Linda and Burt Crume

It happens every autumn, and every year I feel a bit of melancholy and a bit of relief. The weather dips, often accompanied by a cold rain, and we must harvest the last of the garden vegetables before the cold and wet rots them on the vines.

Last Tomatoes
The last tomatoes harvested before the first frost.

Meteorologists predict several days in advance, so we have ample time to plan our strategy. This isn’t something we can complete in an hour. Harvesting isn’t just about picking produce. Once the produce is picked, it must be put up (through freezing, canning, or drying) or put out (given to family, friends, and food banks).

Oven roasted Tomatoes with herbs
Oven-roasted tomatoes with herbs.

Here in the South, summer comes early and generally stays a long time. Garden planning starts no later than January. As soon as the soil can be worked, amendments are added in — manures, lime, compost, maybe pot ash. Spring vegetables — onions, shallots, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, beets, lettuce, spinach — are planted in February and March. No later than mid-March, tomato, pepper, marigold, and herb seeds are started in the makeshift greenhouse. Squash seeds, butternut, spaghetti, zucchini, and yellow, are planted late April in the greenhouse during the spring rains when no one wants to be out working in the garden beds. Those seeds need only a couple of weeks in the greenhouse; they will be ready to be put into the garden, along with peas, early May.

Linda & Burt
12/14/2017 4:56:20 PM

Thanks, Nebraska Dave. We're very excited to be blogging for GRIT. Burt grew up helping with his family's large garden. I came to gardening much later. Until we moved to Little Flint Creek my biggest garden was in containers on our deck. I'm very interested in your inner city garden. We help a bit at a community garden, but we don't have individual plots. Thanks again for the warm welcome. Burt & LInda

12/12/2017 7:50:52 AM

Linda and Burt, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. Your first post was great. Your style of writing is very gifted. I'm looking forward to your future posting with GRIT. I'm a vacant lot inner city/suburban gardener. I live in the suburbs of my city but have a garden in the inner city about 20 minutes away. It's been an interesting experience with the backyard table kitchen and the main bigger garden. Both are still under development and improvement even after many years of gardening in both places. ***** Have a great Fall harvest/preserving day. ***** Nebraska Dave

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