Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

A garden math story problem

Posted by: Martha Buns under Vegetables, Weather Updated: September 26, 2012 - 7:52 AM

At the end of the season, gardening comes down to a game of numbers for me: Seven plus two plus four plus one. Factor in 32 and divide it all into 14.7. It breaks down something like this:

Seven heads of cabbage, two Swiss chard plants, four kale plants, and one big bowl of cucumbers are still out there awaiting attention. When it's forecast to be 32 degrees or less overnight, that's when I find myself scurrying around first trying to harvest it all, and then trying to cram it all into 14.7 cubic feet of refrigerator space until I can get it processed into soups and such to go into the freezer. (I won't even contemplate the freezer math.)

One of my resolutions at the end of last year was to trying to avoid the annual last-minute scramble, so I've been trying to make inroads on the kale and chard so I don't have to pick all of it at the same time I'm trying to pick the stubbornly green tomatoes and bring in all the herb pots. But with the recent fall weather and shored-up fencing, the kale has taken off faster than I can seem to pick it or find room in the refrigerator around all the broccoli I'm still trying to finish off. The four vats of soup I made last weekend didn't seem to make much of a dent in the cruciferous bounty. And there's only so much that can go into kale chips.

Luckily, kale can survive cold temps fairly well and some people think it tastes sweeter after a touch of frost. I've sometimes resorted to leaving a bunch of the kale to take its chances once the refrigerator is packed to the gills. It's nice to have something left to harvest after the freezing frenzy has died down.

I did harvest an enormous bowl of basil last weekend based on the cool forecast. Forty minutes of destemming the plants yielded 3 pints of pesto, and one less chore to face on the night before a real frost.

So the final math question: How many days will I have before the frost finally overcomes the urban heat bubble in my back yard?

 

 

 

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