Friday, September 16, 2011
Extending the Season
The last few nights have been in the 40s here in Ohio, what the weathermen and those with a good outlook on life call "good sleeping weather." Indeed, after a summer of running both the whole-house AC and the room AC in our bedroom just to be able to stand to sleep there, both our budgets and our bodies are ready for a little peace and quiet and a fleece quilt.
However, our garden doesn't much like "good sleeping weather," especially our sensitive basil. I want to get a few more weeks out of this plant before I cut it all down for pesto, especially since we lost one plant to wilt earlier this year. I'll make some pesto this weekend, but with about ten days of great growing weather on the horizon if not more, it is critical that the sensitive crops make it through the cold snap.
So, Mr. FC&G designed this basil cover, made out of a leftover aluminum frame. He placed it around the basil, then we pull the tarp behind up over the basil and tack it down with bricks. First thing in the morning, we uncover the basil and let it get the morning sun, and we cover it before the temps drop at night. Some places will sell you floating row covers designed to do the same thing, but this was just as good for a single herb bed.
Mr. FC&G also brought two old sliding glass door windows out of the garage and leaned them up against the house, making a makeshift cold frame of sorts to protect the big pots of peppers. Since the garden got such a late start around here, I don't want to lose the dozens of banana peppers that have just set and got started growing, so this is a good protection for them as well.
In the variable Midwest, this is the season when we count our remaining gardening by the day, and every day is one day closer to self-sufficiency for the winter.
Fast: Depending on your efforts and number of tender crops, making your own crop protectors might take a bit of time. I think Mr. FC&G did both installations in about an hour for materials on hand.
Cheap: Materials around the house plus a little effort means just that much more food that we can bring in this year.
Good: Basil pesto and peppers are key to our food storage, as they add so much flavor in winter. Basil pesto will also make a meal if we have pasta and Parmesan in the house, which we usually do. So these are critical, and saving them is important.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 9:21 AM