The past year in Vermont has been noticeable for its receipt of vast amounts of precipitation. While I’m grateful not to have had to shovel the 45 inches of rain we’ve had this year, I am growing weary of it – and I like rain. The last few days have been chilly and dreary, a warning of colder and darker days to come.
But for now, we’re in for some much-needed sun– a welcome respite for what’s left of my produce garden. The possible frost tonight or tomorrow, not so much. Most parts of the state had frost a couple of weeks ago, but up north by the lake, we’re hanging on. Once again, I’ll haul out the sheets and wrap up what’s left to savor.
After despairing this summer that my two eggplant “trees” – well over 3 feet each and one with a double stem – might never produce anything edible, they finally started blooming in early August. I’ve already picked 5 or 6 eggplants from them, and there are a dozen more in various stages of development on the way. They’ll get tucked in under a nice fitted sheet.
The tomatoes are water-logged; each day, a couple of unripe orbs give up the ghost. Releasing their tenuous hold on the vines, they tumble to the ground, where they may fall victim to a slug before I find them. It’s time to collect what’s left and let them go.
I pulled about half of the remaining leeks out of the ground, but they like the cold, so the others can stay where they are. I harvested about the same amount of carrots, but they, too, can stand the cold for a while longer. The Brussels sprouts actually get sweeter with a little nip, so they’ll be picked as I need them. The beans, alas, have given their all.
But the crown jewels of the garden are the raspberries. There are still dozens left on two producing bushes; they’re ripening at a rate of about a half pint a day. In August, I let them grow too tall, one of the end supports gave out, and their long, heavy arching branches dip toward the ground as if trying to touch their toes. The bees are scarcer now, making picking less tenuous. Tonight, the delicate branches will get tucked gently behind their sagging frame and lovingly covered, in hopes that, like the sun, they’ll allow me to savor fall for just a little longer.