The last act of my day is watching the “Local on the 8’s” on the Weather Channel. Last Wednesday (a week ago now) the temperature was 38 degrees. I knew it would end badly and had not expected such a dip. Sure enough my friend Marie phoned before six the following morning while walking her dog in the state forest. She noticed one side of the path was covered with frost. I think it is called hoar frost.
At any rate, I hopped to and immediately drove to the big vegetable garden. There it was, frost covering half the place. I hosed down the peppers and eggplants and am happy to report they were saved. If one waters before the sun hits the frosted leaves in the morning, a few more days or possibly weeks of harvest can happen.
I wasn’t sure I would successfully save the plants at first so I picked a tremendous amount of both peppers and eggplants. The eggplants were very small, perhaps the size of tennis balls. I took a few hours from work and processed them all, I chopped everything into one-inch cubes, sauteed in olive oil, and popped into the freezer. If the worst happens, I’ll go out eating eggplant Parmesan for the rest of the winter.
I received an inquiry in the mail recently from a person who signed Weekly Reader. I love that the person is also gnashing teeth over the political situation.
I wish I had an answer about rescuing the highbush blueberries. My friend Sharlee is the person to whom I refer on all things blueberry. I have managed to kill too many to be any sort of expert on the subject. Sharlee’s are well over 10 years old and produce like crazy. I know she gives them a big helping of wood chips yearly. I believe Pro-Holly is the fertilizer of choice. It is a North Country Organics product, available at SBS. It is also great for dogwoods, azaleas and all evergreens.
Weekly Reader also asked about a replacement for 10-inch impatiens. Removing a few oaks from the yard has afforded quite a bit more sunshine. The New Zealand impatiens will work nicely. They can take full sun, come in several colors and have attractive greenery. They can take some deadheading now and then to remain lovely. There is also portulaca, which is completely effortless, can take drought and is extremely cheerful. Thanks for the note. I love feedback.
I used last Saturday afternoon to pull my hoop house together. Big thanks goes out to Danny Larsen for the gift and/or loan of a number of fish totes from Edgartown Seafood. They are the perfect size for growing all winter under plastic. I filled with a layer of hay, Gerdener’s Choice from Vineyard Gardens, a couple of inches of Coast of Maine compost and peat, and finally a topping of metro-mix. Then I transplanted lettuce seedlings and kale from the big garden in hopes of dead of winter salads.
I have a new arthritic lump on one of my fingers. I asked Keith Maranchie, my chiropractor, for advice in dealing with it. He replied, “Learn to love it — perhaps name it.” What a smarty-pants. Guess he’s right, though. This aging thing requires a great deal of acceptance. As Henry Mitchell says in The Essential Earthman, “By the time one is 80 there is no longer a tug of war in the garden with May flowers hauling like mad against the claims of the other months. All is at last in balance and all is serene. The gardener is usually dead, of course.”
Why doesn’t “family values” Sarah Palin ever stay home and take care of her little children?