If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Great Experiment

Last year I still had tomato blossoms when the frost came. We may have a frost here this weekend, and sure enough, I still tomato blossoms. Last year I was relieved to sacrifice fetal tomatoes. This year I'm trying something different. We had a roll of plastic in the closet we'd originally bought to use as a drop cloth for painting. Not a great use, by the way; it's too easy to slide on when painting in stocking feet. It is good for covering a small raised bed to extend the growing season, though.

We draped the plastic over the trellises I'd trained the tomatoes up. We put a few staples in the bottom, but I also had a few nails in the boards to tie hemp twine to when I had to shore up the trellises against the wind and the weight of the plants. I pushed the nails through the plastic and ran more hemp twine over the top, tying onto the same nails. So far it looks good. It's retaining moisture and, presumably, heat. We have yet to see how it holds up in wind.

You can see at the bottom of this picture that it's not just the tomatoes still going strong. My volunteer zucchini isn't producing much, but it's very happy. The pots in the back are mint and echinacea, and the front left is sweet potatoes. The wire frame on the left is the old compost pile (from which originated the volunteer zucchini) and the trellis to the right is the new, bigger, moved away from the house compost pile.

I was surprised to find sweet potato flowers on my way back inside. They didn't flower at all this summer and I didn't think much about it, but now that I have some I almost don't want to harvest them! They have to come out to be cured soon, but I might wait a little longer and see what the weather does. I'll push it as close to the frost as I can.

It's been an interesting gardening year, I'll give it that much.

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Blogger Valerie Comer said...

Oooohhh you can grow sweet potatoes there? Cool. I've never tried and just assumed we're too far north. I guess I should find out!

We definitely get a week or two extra out of our tomatoes by covering them at night, until the frosts get really hard. Mine are definitely toast now!

6:40 PM  

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