Monday, October 13, 2008

October surprise

Oh, October! The time of year when so many of us long for summer to last just a little longer. We know winter is coming; we see and appreciate the signs, but we want summer to linger just a little bit longer. We savor every minute of each Red Sox post season game, willing them to keep going, just one more inning, just one more hit, to stretch the season into November. And those of us who garden watch the weather reports intently, taking necessary precautions in case the temperature dips enough to harm our precious plants. Perhaps we even silently plead with the weather reporter to give us a nice stretch of “Indian Summer”, a not-so-politically correct name for pleasant fall temperatures.

After a summer of too much water, my husband plays along as I turn the sprinkler on in the middle of the night, because the thermometer dipped to 35 degrees, to protect my tomato plants. I have too many to cover up conveniently, and our city water is not too expensive. The plants are still alive and bearing, and the past several days of pleasant autumn warmth have increased this year’s so-far pathetic tomato yield. Just cut any black spots off and you have home grown tomato goodness!

If I can get a few of my big beefsteaks to ripen, I’ll be a happy girl. So far we’ve had lots of cherry tomatoes and a few romas and medium-sized ones, but my favorite type, Black Krim, have yet to even show a shadow of their dusky glory. I’m still waiting to have that BLT. As soon as they show any sign of ripening, I’ll pick them and bring them in, setting them near other tomatoes to ripen, and keep an eye on them to ensure that they don’t rot.

Rain, however, is not always a gardener’s friend, even if it comes with warmer temperatures. I was disappointed a couple of weekends back to see that the first melons I ever grew in my garden actually exploded during a 4” deluge one Saturday. Cracked cherry tomatoes and beefsteaks with black holes were among the other “victims” of the rain. I want normal summery warmth, not the excess of water we had this year.

I’m hoping for summer to stretch just a little longer. Ripe tomatoes and the Red Sox go hand in hand in our household! It’s still early to judge the garden’s success this year, and I can’t yet complain. I’ve had plenty of zucchini!

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