Winter. Did I really just write that in the post title? Are we seriously approaching that time of year yet again? Yikes. It seems November has ushered in a new level of cold. With the threat of the season’s first frost looming, I finally admitted to myself that it was time to dismantle my beloved vegetable garden and prepare for the oncoming weather.
It was really not looking so well anyway. The tomato and pole bean vines had become mostly brown and droopy, with little fruit:
There were still a number of unripe vegetables, so I picked them all in the hope that they would ripen off the vine:
It also killed me to tear out my basil plants — there was so much left! By this time of year, however, the allelochemicals produced by plants like basil — which make them so delicious to us, but unappetizing to particular insects — have really built up in the leaves. This can cause them to taste tough and bitter. I thought it was a crapshoot as to whether or not this batch of basil would be edible, but I hated to throw it all away. So I made a paste by pureeing in olive oil (see this entry for herb preservation) and stuck it in my freezer. Hopefully I’ll not forget about it and make some pesto down the road…
When my garden was cleared, I finally transplanted the kale seedlings I started in late summer. I am kind of far behind on this. Starting from seed was much harder than I anticipated! Oh how naïve I was. A number of fiascos required me to replant them, including a moment when my dog, in reckless pursuit of a squirrel, plowed through an entire group of little seedlings I had set outside.
Nonetheless, I have five plants that seem to be hanging on to dear life. I finally planted them in the space formerly occupied by those overgrown tomatoes, beans and peppers pictured above.