It’s time to call it quits

I feel like I’ve been flogging a dead horse for the last few months and this morning’s heavy frost was the final straw. We are 10 days out from winter so I’m just kidding myself.  The peppers weren’t going to give me my bumper harvest anytime soon.  They needed to come out.

Frosty garden
It was a bit of an icy start this morning and it is not even winter yet!

Due to the dreadful summer we had the peppers never did very well and so I had been limping them along.  Every time the mere suggestion of a frost was mentioned I was out there popping on the frost cloth in the hopes of receiving something worthy of a plant whose seed was sown 10 months ago.  Then whipping back out in the morning to remove the cover so they could bask in the weak sun.

Frosty peppers
A sad sight, but it had to be done.

But I came to the sad decision to pull them out. Let’s face it, they are hardly going to grow to the expected enormous proportions and develop a rose red glow in the weakening winter sun.  If left there they will more than likely grind to a halt in a state of suspended animation and slowly rot in the damp, cold conditions offered up by winter.

Clearing the pepper bed
And so the removing of the last traces of summer begins.

It wasn’t a decision made lightly.  To ensure I followed through I didn’t go out last night and put the frost cloth on for one last time, in spite of alarming headlines in the news about a dreadful polar blast racing up the country directly from the Antarctic.  The boffins were suggesting 3°C which of course you always take with a grain of salt and prepare for -3°C.  I allowed the plants to be hit by the stiffest frost we’ve had so far so I would be spurred into action first thing in the morning to remove all of the fruit languishing there.

Empty bed
A bed – a mere hour ago so full of life and now … nothing

Once there was no fruit there was no point keeping the plants as nothing new would come from them and the thought of protecting empty plants from frost throughout winter didn’t seem exciting at all.  Besides they do perfectly well when started from seed each year – provided the summer doesn’t suck!

Not exactly and bountiful harvest but it is better than nothing.

It did feel monumentally sad.  The peppers are the first of the season to be sown and done so with great care and fanfare.  The poor old cucumbers later in the season just get plonked unceremoniously into seed raising mix as there is so much going on by the time they need to get started there isn’t a moment spare to acknowledge just how cool the cucumber is.  The peppers are special though.  They are with us for so long.  They don’t really get going until midsummer – in ideal conditions and then generally continue until the frost with a bumper harvest.  Ordinarily the first frost brings relief from an overabundance of peppers stored up in the freezer for use until the new crops kick in.

Lupin seeds
And into the future – lupin seeds take their place under trellis to stop Fennel the Cat from digging them up.

But I can’t linger over what’s old in the garden.  I need to focus on what’s new.  The next crop to go into this bed is the cucumbers and I want to make it lovely and rich for them and replace the goodness the peppers used up.  Sow I’ve sown a cover crop of lupin in the bed and before long the gorgeous foliage will fill the bed and make the winter garden seem less dreary.  It is almost a shame to have to dig it in before it flowers as lupin blooms are so pretty.

Sunny late autumn day
On a day like this you can almost forgive the frost as it is such refreshing conditions to work in. I had a marvelous day.

And just like that the time marches on in the garden in an orderly fashion.  Peppers just aren’t a winter crop.

Come again soon – I’ve got luffas to loof.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

13 thoughts on “It’s time to call it quits

  1. So you are heading into winter, cold and frost, and the resulting problems with plants. Your garden does look great though Sarah, wishing you still lots of happy gardening days before the real frost sets in.

    1. Thanks. Most of the frost tender plants are done now anyway. You tend to forget just how cold winter can get when you’ve had months of warm weather. Every time it comes as a bit of a shock. : o)

  2. Sarah, I’m always amazed at the size as well as the production of your garden. I garden in such a small space, that any production is cause for celebration. I’m sorry you’ve had a disappointing year with your peppers. I planted them once in my small space and after months, managed 2 to 4. Have you read *High Value Veggies* by Mel Bartholomew? He has a top then and a bottom ten, based on the return of investment (ROI). Number 1 is herbs with an average of $69.08 ROI, 10 is Tomato, Hybrid with a $16.13 ROI and Bell Peppers come in at 55 with a ROI of *minus* -$1.90.

    As for the lupins, could you leave two rows for flowering, then plow under the rest?

    I love your breezy writing style and your incredible garden. You are so knowledgeable, too.

    1. Hi Alys. Thanks for your encouragement. Funny enough I only recently read an article on the best value foods to grow, but at the end of the day I’m not in it for the money – we’ll a little bit, but I’m just trying to feed my family with healthy veggies that I know where they’ve come from and what’s been done to them. And I love growing all sorts of different things. Maybe I’ll pop some lupin in a pot.
      Have a fabulous summer. : o)

    1. It is always a hard call to make – when to pull out something that it still chugging along, but not really being of great help. I hope you get a few more bunches of flowers and some more chillies before the big heave hoe! : o)

    1. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but I needed to spur myself into action or they’d be there in the garden in a sorry state all winter! Frost has this way of making everything beautiful. : o)

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