Saturday, October 15, 2011

ides of october

Leaves are falling, wind is blowing, our compost pile is overflowing.

We raked leaves today, piling all of them up, from our front and back yards into one huge pile, taller than either of the kids, and let them jump into it, slide into it from their play slide, bury themselves in leaves.  I forget how much I loved jumping into leaves and getting lost in leaf piles that seemed so so big when I was so little.

There was a little chill of winter in the air this morning when we first left the house.  October is here- really here.  Last week didn't feel that way-- hot, dry, and very weird.  Nice to have a little bit of summer before the winter hits, but it was dry and hot in a way that seemed unusual for October.  I think we broke a high temperature record or two in the process.

It's a beautiful October otherwise, with lots of good fall colors on the city streets.  Our neighborhood has a lot of maples, and there's a street not far from us lined with sugar maples which just blaze this time of year.  We walk a little stretch of it on the way home from preschool, and inside I'm a bit thankful that we live in a climate where the seasons change, even as extremely as they do.

 I noticed today that many of the gardeners at our community garden have already cleared their plots and are turning over the soil, leaving blank spaces in the patchwork.

'Not yet!' I want to say.  This is the best part of the gardening year.  Where you don't have to pull weeds anymore, and the mosquitoes and japanese beetles are long gone, and the tomatoes keep on coming, and there's still carrots to pull, and the kale will keep coming for a month or two.  It isn't time to cut it all down just yet.

But I can understand if people are tired.  It has been a hard year for gardeners.  Really, it's been a hard year for everyone, whether or not they garden.

Some other garden blogs are going dormant for the winter.  I wonder if mine should, but I don't want to.  I enjoy this too much.  Even if there aren't many readers (and there aren't).

kale & squash

I'd like the eighth acre farm to be more like a kale patch than basil.  Sure, the basil smells nice and is makes just about everything you pair it with taste good- but kale is a survivor.  Kale is a Minnesotan- enduring through the first few snowstorms of November and December before finally succumbing (and even then, not totally) to the sub-zero frosts of January.

I respect kale for that.  It's not a sexy herb like basil, but it endures.  And endurance, in the age of peak everything, may be the most respectable quality there is.

daddy- what kind  of pizza do you want?
I promised to tell my personal horror story involving the largest bank in the US last time, and I would, but frankly, I'm tired and feeling a bit lazy and will save it for another time.  I'm glad to see the protestors in all of the various cities holding the banks and 'investment' companies accountable for all the fraud and corruption and self-enrichment of the last who-knows-how-many years. 

Let them all eat cake.  I will eat carrots from my garden.  I may even pickle some this week (carrots- not stockbrokers), with hot peppers from my community garden plot.



  1. I'm with you on the late garden. I don't even start eating kale until now. And now is when the brussell sprouts finally come alive and start getting bigger. Even the broccoli has new life with a second batch of "heads". The tomatoes trickle in; they may be a bit mealy and not as flavorful as in peak summer, but they are all the more enjoyable because they are the last.

    It's fun to follow fellow Minnesota gardeners. Thanks for the blog!

  2. Thanks Nick,

    I always appreciate comments- esp. from fellow gardeners. This really is the best time of year. I just try not to think about what's on the way.

  3. What about carrot cake?

    My garden's winding down, although I still have carrots and parsnips in the ground. And some very happy tomato plants that have yet to give me an actual ripened tomato.

    Southwest Washington gets too wet during the winter to do year-round veggie gardening, even though the temperature would cooperate for the most part. I did plant some lettuce in the coldframe today, though. And, like you, I'm going to try keeping my blog open during the winter. If nothing else, I can write about my plans for the next growing season.

    Plus, as soon as January comes around, I'll be starting seedlings again . . . even tomatoes, as pointless as it seems.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I love carrot cake! Of course, I have a hard time getting around to making it. These days if I bake, it's with the kids after they come home from preschool. I tried to put a bunch of shredded carrots from last year's garden in some muffins and my daughter just about had a heart attack. 'Daddy you can't put THAT in!'

    While I'm envious of your zone 8/9 climate, I forget (as do many Minnesota gardeners) that it rarely gets hot enough on the west coast to grow tomatoes. I was reading in Garden Rant that coastal gardeners as far south as central Cali have trouble getting tomatoes to ripen. I guess I have to be appreciative of the hot Minnesota summers. Extreme climates do have their benefits!