The weather service is calling for our first hard freeze this weekend, and the newspaper has declared that it's time to give up on the garden. (Digression: the television reporters were doing their best to lather everyone up into a panic about what this means for children at the school bus stop, so parents would have to tune in to find out how to dress their children in the morning. It's just a few degrees colder than it's been! Do you really need a television reporter to tell you how to dress your child? And this is why I read the newspaper instead of TV news.)
I spent a while outside after work yesterday, harvesting the more fragile parts of the garden.
I'm pleasantly surprised by how long the pepper plants all stuck it out. And my one noble basil plant, doing its best to hang on after the others gave up at light frost. I pulled up the cosmos in the front months ago, when they were too leggy and collapsed to work in the bed, but I let the ones in the back keep going. They've bloomed constantly from the very beginning of July through early November--what more could I ask of them?
But I'm not "giving up" on the garden, as the paper suggested. If this weekend turns out to be an aberration, and temperatures nose up just a little, I'm hopeful that I can eek more out of it yet. I planted my fall crops woefully late, and am determined to push my luck. I harvested the largest lettuce leaves, but left the plants intact. I've got some beets that have a few more weeks before they're ready to be pulled--even as babies. My radishes are just an inch high, and my swiss chard (and second run of beets) are even smaller. I only just planted leek and kale seeds this past weekend! I know both should winter over (as long as it's not as cold as it was last year!)--hopefully they'll be able to germinate and grow those first tender shoots at this late date!
This is my first year in this climate zone, and my first time with a real, in-the-ground garden (as opposed to pots on the balcony), so this is all one big experiment. But I'm excited to be pushing the boundaries--how sad would it be to give up on a garden that still had life left in it!