Wednesday, November 24, 2010

First Freeze -- Last Fruits

Last night, during an all-too-short interval between a day at work and a night-time event, I found myself out in the garden with a flashlight, stripping the remaining tomatoes, eggplant, and trombetta squash off their respective plants. Freezing temperatures were predicted.

After covering the little potted Meyer lemon and bidding a fond farewell to the basil and nasturtiums, I dashed off to store the last fruits of the summer season in the garage and the kitchen. Clipped branches of tomatoes were hung in the garage, dangling above the one huge, pale beige trombetta that had managed to transition into a winter squash. The eggplant, loose tomatoes, and still-green trombettas went into the house.

This morning I went out to check on the carnage. The basil had turned black overnight, so the expected killing frost had occurred as foretold. The drooping nasturtiums were still green, as were the tomatoes, eggplant, and squash, but they all had lost their will to live, cells burst open by shards of ice that formed inside.

Meanwhile, the spinach, kale, and broccoli were standing tall: "Ah, a bit of frost -- just the refreshing pick-up we were craving."

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