After a couple hard frosts in mid-September, I assumed our gardening days were behind us. And looking at the current state of the raised bed, I think it was a fair assumption. Not that our veggie gardens this year ever looked particularly manicured, but they've definitely looked better than this: way better.
But although the raised bed may look like a wild beast trampled through it multiple times (always a possibility, although I think its bedraggled look is completely compliments of frost damage), I was surprised to find plenty of things still growing. The mammoth sunflowers are still hail and hardy, although they're too top heavy to show their pretty faces.
A couple days back, I picked over a pound of green beans and just yesterday, I discovered this growing among the trampled squash vines:
Yes, my friends, it's the zucchini plant that refuses to say die. I picked two more zucchinis off the plant last week and it looks like we'll have at least two more. After that, it's so long zucchinis because I'm pulling these suckers up either today or tomorrow. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
We've had Swiss Chard growing in the shady, windy, lakeside terrace gardens all season. They've never gotten bigger than seedling size. After three years of trying to coax things to grow in these gardens, I think it's time to throw the towel in. Nothing will ever thrive in this rocky soil. So this fall, we're giving the terrace gardens a perennial makeover and we're moving the soil from the roadside raised bed (which has also never thrived) over to a sunnier part of the yard and building a couple new raised beds for next year. While I may have given up on the terrace gardens, I have not given up on the Swiss Chard. I moved it to an inside pot a couple weeks back and the plants have already doubled in size. Who knows how it'll do as a houseplant, but with any luck, we'll be eating chard around (American) Thanksgiving time.
Although our tomato plants are now dead, brown skeletons of themselves, we still have plenty of backyard tomatoes to enjoy. All the green ones we saved before the frost have been steadily ripening on the kitchen table. Andy and I made up a big batch of "end of the season" chili last week, using our own tomatoes, tomatillos, and jalapenos. While I feel like we had a motherload of tomatoes this year, now that we're transitioning into winter menus (aka, chilis, lasagnas, etc.), I'm reminded of just how many canned tomatoes we go through each winter. I'm tempted to plant twice as many tomatoes next year. So much for giving up on gardening, eh. ;)