I discovered, while reading a couple of my fellow Iowa garden bloggers this morning, that I ought to check the weather forecast. They both mentioned the frost warning for tonight, and while there had been a significant drop in temperature between when I left for Chicago on Sunday morning and when I returned Monday night, somehow a frost warning seemed awfully odd.
“We’re going to have to take everything in tonight,” I said to Steve just before I left for work. “Can you help me with that?”
“Sure,” he said. “The harvest’s the fun part.”
I went swimming after work, and by the time I got home, the light outside had already faded to purple. I hung up my towel and swimsuit, and never even unbuttoned my coat.
“What are you doing?” asked Steve as I went in a drawer for the pair of scissors.
“We’ve got to bring all the vegetables in before they freeze,” I said.
“You can get the grape tomatoes off those plants,” I said as I waved my hands through the gloom-obscured pepper plants. If I hit a pepper, I cut it off and dropped it into first a colander, then, after that filled, my barn jacket pockets. “Get the green ones, too. We can cook them up.”
“She’s done with you,” Steve said to one of the grape tomato plants. “A little frost, and it’s all over. If you’re not pumping out tomatoes, you’re of no use to her.”
“That is not a nice thing to say to the plant,” I said. “Did you get all the tomatoes?”
Steve reached back in for the last few green grape tomatoes, and then we eyed the various container of herb plants.
“We can take them all inside,” Steve said. “We can just set them on newspaper or something.”
I thought about the white flies on the basil and the various small bees and fuzzy caterpillars that showed up in the lavender and parsley this summer. Without confirmation that they were all gone, I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk putting any more bugs in the house than we already have. Our house is old, with a creepy basement that features a stunning array of silverfish that enjoy a romp through our kitchen at the most inconvenient times.
“How about if we just move the critical ones up on the porch, and then make a tent out of the tablecloth?” I said. “That ought to protect them overnight. It’s only supposed to get down to 33.”
Steve gave me the look that said, A tent?
I looked at the containers and thought about which ones were really important to me. It was getting dark and I was getting hungry, and suddenly the thought of saving the gone-to-seed Italian parsley or the bolting mint seemed a little less key.
In the end, we carried Steve’s tropical plant inside, and lined up the Genovese basil plant, the sage, and the lavender on the porch against the wall. We taped our oilcloth tablecloth around them to give them shelter, and called it a night.
Editorial note: Speaking of calling it a night, I just want to let my fearless readers know that I’ll probably slow down the posts now that the weather’s cooling and there’s less to see and do in the garden. Don’t worry…my over-winter plan will include recipes, stories and photos galore, but I’ll probably start posting every other day rather than every day.