My husband took our boys to see a movie in 4-D last weekend. I think it’s an interesting concept, but I know of a much less expensive experience closer to home that is at least 4 or 5-D, in my opinion. It’s also the very best thing about summer: plucking a ripe tomato.
I love the entire long-awaited process. Squatting into the heavy aroma of a tomato plant, time slows down. I feel like a giant peeking into the under-canopy of a tiny jungle. The texture on the leaves makes you reach out and feel them and the hair on the branches actually sparkles. There are chirping crickets and weight-lifting ants and weeds you missed last time around. And we haven’t even gotten to the flavor of a sun-warmed tomato, yet.
But I’m depressed because the nights have become cool and the days are getting shorter. Soon my entire garden will be nothing more than an addition to the compost heap. So, my brother-in-law gave me a fantastic idea. He is planting a cold-weather garden, something I’ve never done.
Here in Ohio, we can grow cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and more, according to the website for the Ohio State University Extension.
According to an article by Barbara Arnold on OurOhio.org, root crops like potatoes and carrots need loamy soil. You also may need to protect your fall plants from frost with table cloths, bed sheets or newspaper and a hard freeze will kill seedlings. Their website also recommend planting fall crops 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost.
That happens in the Cleveland area around October 23 on average, according to the Farmer’s Almanac website.
I spoke with Dominic Del Corpo, the owner of Del Corpo Home and Garden Center in Broadview Heights. He said they sell seeds and soil for fall gardening. Del Corpo recommended growing rapini and radicchio and also recommended covering a fall garden with wire mesh and straw, a canopy or a cold frame.
So, I think I'm going to plant some cool-weather vegetables. Picking brussels sprouts while wearing gloves and a hat may not be the same as the joy I get from picking tomatoes, but I bet it has its own charm.