Tuesday, June 13, 2006

news from the garden

The raised beds, all 21 of them, are filled now, and all but two are planted. I decided to hold off on planting the last two on Sunday because...well, notice the tarps laying here and there? On Saturday and Sunday nights, tomatoes, peppers, and other tender stuff had to be covered up because of FROST. Yes, I've learned around here there's no such thing as a "last frost" date. I have also learned that even if the local forecast on the National Weather Service website does not mention a frost advisory or freeze warning, if the predicted low temperature is in the low forties, I might as well count on frost here.

Why is the low temperature here consistently ten degrees cooler than the surrounding area? I don't know, but I have a couple of theories. One, Lake Superior, fifty miles to the northeast, has a moderating effect; the thermal mass of the water might push cold air to the south, and we may be just far enough away to be on the receiving end. Another theory, actually more physical fact, is that even though Sand Creek's "valley" is hardly a deep ravine, there is enough difference in elevation that cold air settles in along the creek.

Because of the tarps, and the motivation of The Hermit Sunday night when I was too tired to trot out to the garden after dark, most of the garden escaped with little damage.

Artistic cutworm collar

Colorful- and ready to eat

We also planted three apple trees just south of the garden area; we bought all hardy Northern varieties developed by the University of Minnesota ag experiment station.

And just as I thought I had the remaining garden beds all spoken for, The Hermit went to the closeout sale at the garden center yesterday and bought more tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and even okra. I'm going to be planting in buckets pretty soon!


the dharma bum said...

What's the apple variety? Honeycrisp? That's the only one I'm familiar with from the U of M and it is absolutely delicious!

Floridacracker said...

21 beds...whew!

Apple envy here. We struggle with some Israeli varieties that require low chilling hours, but even so , you can tell they are out of their element.

If I lived in Minnesotarctica, I would grow cherries. They are completely ungrowable here and I love them, love them, love them.

Your garden is just kicking in and my tomato plants look like war veterans.

Sue said...

Sigh. Your garden is so gorgeous. I love seeing pictures of people's gardens!

Deb said...

dharma bum- We have two Haralsons, which were released by the U back in the '20's, and which we love, and one Sweet Sixteen, one Red Baron, and one Zestar, which I guess is their latest success. But now that you mention Honeycrisp, maybe I'll have to find one...they are good...

We planted apples because there just are not any established orchards north of Chisago County, and I miss making lots of homemade applesauce and pies.

FC- I think we're a bit too far north for cherries. The Hermit just bought serviceberries (as if we do not have a lot of them growing wild already!) and elderberries, which I guess are really good for fighting the flu, and making wine.

Sue- thanks!

LauraHinNJ said...

Elderberries have beautiful flowers - I never get berries on mine for some reason, so no wine.

That lettuce looks tasty - do you not have problems with critters raiding it on you?

Deb said...

Laura- I'm crossing my fingers...no fence yet, and I've seen lots of rabbits, but maybe the cats keep them away from the garden; I don't know. Next year there will be an electrified fortress around this garden space! :)

TroutGrrrl said...

Hey Deb,

Thanks much for posting this fruit and vegetable story and pics. I'm going to be gardening vicariously through you this year, so its extra interesting to me. Thanks!

the dharma bum said...

Deb - I'm a one-trick pony, I had no idea that the U had developed Haralson and the others. Sounds delicious!