The gardening season for 2012 is over. Leaves have been tilled into the spots that have been cleared of the finished plants. The leaves will decompose over the winter and the ground will be ready to go for the early spring crops. Garlic was planted in late September and a few have poked out of the ground. A ground cover of leaves will help protect them until warm weather returns.
There are a few crops still going such as beets and carrots. Bags of leaves cover them to keep the ground from freezing until they are all harvested. Inside, onions, garlic and winter squash are in the cool basement providing ingredients and side dishes for meals for a few months.
It was a very challenging year in the garden. The season started very early. We had temperatures in the 70’s and a few days reached 80 in March. Hitting the low 60’s at that time of the year is normally a treat. I took advantage of the early spring to plant some cool weather crops including peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach and broccoli. I knew that there was a good chance they could be frozen out, but the cost was low and the rewards were high. I planted second crops of these in April at the normal time.
As usual, I started my peppers and tomatoes in mid-March. Instead of doing it inside on a cold rainy (or snow!) day as usual, I was outside in shorts and a T shirt listening to a Brewer pre-season game. I felt like I should have been transplanting tomatoes and peppers into the ground rather than putting seeds in containers.
The very early crops survived a cold April, and the results were great. I got the best broccoli I ever had with large dense flower heads. The lettuce produced a good. Unfortunately the weather got hot and dry in June and July. We had more days in the 90’s than I can recall. We had a number of days over 100. It might have been a decade since we saw 100 degrees and even longer since we had anywhere that many 100 degree days.