Thursday, October 22, 2009

False alarm, leaves, changing lawn care

Last Thursday, the 5:00 PM news told me that the night's low would be 43 degrees "but it will feel like 24 degrees." Feel like to whom? My plants? I'd never heard anything like that before when I was worrying about frost warnings. Until three years ago we always had our first frost in mid-November, but both the past two years it was in mid-October, so I was worried.

Before I went to the excellent films at the library after dinner I went outside to protect my babies. The wind was blowing and it felt COLD.I realized it seemed that way partially because the previous day had been so warm,but the plants might have a similar reaction to the sudden cold. So I did a lot of protection (burlap, etc.) and picking.
All in vain. The next morning the temperature, said the news, was 38 degrees, but the Malabar was still perky. I emailed my aunt and uncle, whose 66th anniversary I helped celebrate last month and whose farm I loved to visit in my childhood, about what to do with those peppers I had picked. They don't think peppers turn red inside, and they think they last no more than two weeks in the refrigerator. Freeze those peppers!

I had picked most of the basil plants, which were on their last yellow legs anyway, and that has taken lots of my time this week. Today I noticed that the basil left behind has taken off nicely. Wasn't today lovely? I noticed that many of the big tomatoes have fallen to the ground; I pick them up and they seem to ripen inside. The tomato plants don't look much more nourishing than my kitchen counter. Eggplants keep growing. I keep picking the Malabar, and tomorrow I may pick my last zuchinni.
Today's "Montclair Times" tells about the township deciding to charge landscapers who dump leaves in our recycling center, since the township then pays to have them taken away. What a waste! I have used all my own leaves and Fred brings me about 100 bags of others' leaves each fall. At and average of 20 pounds per bag, this is about a ton of leaves that have nourished my property each year for decades. Why don't other residents recycle their own puny amount of leaves? The eating is good and the flowers flourishing. Leaves belong under raspberry and other bushes -- and in compost. American waste puzzles me.
Several of you responded to my question about how long it takes to convert a lawn from poison-dependent to organic. All but one said their was no serious transition problem, and that one seemed to feel it was worth it. Give up those poisons and chemicals! You will be glad you did -- and will save money.


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