Realization Of The Day:
It took me so long to get around to posting this photo that it is now completely irrelevant. (But I really like it so I'm putting it up anyway.)
This is a close-up of one of the three Aconcagua pepper seedlings I transplanted into the greenhouse back on August 12th. They were leftovers from summer, and rather than simply toss them into a compost bin, I figured I'd put them in the ground and see what happened--knowing full well that it takes something like 80 warm days for these peppers to mature and that we would probably be seeing frost in about 60. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a poor, forgotten plant. In the photo you can also see some of the basil I transplanted at the same time--more seedlings that had been languishing in tiny plugs for months.
Both the peppers and the basil were thriving despite a few nights at 21 degrees F. There were even several peppers a couple of inches long and looking very hopeful. But last week the temperature dipped into the teens, and despite my covering the plants and the protection of the greenhouse, well, all that's left now is a soggy, stinky mess. Yeah, I really should have harvested that basil.
The way I see it, though, is that not only did I enjoy having those warm weather plants in the greenhouse for a while, but now I have more available growing space. This also shows that if you live in a slightly warmer climate than I do (we're Zone 5), you might just be able to keep peppers and basil growing well into winter. And maybe even tomatoes, too. On the other side of the greenhouse was a lone Thai Pink Egg tomato plant that sported several blossoms and even one cute little tomato. (Another forgotten, pathetic, rootbound specimen I didn't have the heart to toss out last summer.) It's history now, too, but many years ago I did harvest ripe greenhouse tomatoes in January, and ever since then I've been willing to take my chances.
If you do plan to nurture tomatoes through the colder months, I suggest growing cherry tomatoes as the fruits take much less time to mature than larger varieties. Those January tomatoes I enjoyed so much were actually teeny tiny red currant tomatoes. They are cute as can be and practically as sweet as candy. I've found the plants to be easy to grow and resistant to diseases, pests, and weather fluctuations.
Hmmm. I wonder if I should start some seeds now. Ripe garden tomatoes on Valentine's Day, anyone?
I have no idea why I thought I'd suddenly have tons of time to spend blogging once fall arrived. Instead I seem to be busier than ever. So much to write about, so much still to do in the garden. But I hope to be back to posting more frequently soon. (And I'm also behind on answering questions. Thanks for your patience.)