First frost, followed by actual snow: the warm-weather garden plants are dead.
I don’t know why I am never able to pull them before the frost. Tomatoes don’t ripen much in the rapidly-shortening September days, and the microscopic green peppers that I left to grow… didn’t.
But now, they are really done, and filled the compost bin this weekend. The baby vegetables that I finally harvested gave us a fantastic enchilada dinner, with a sauce made from pureed green tomatoes and cilantro.
As much as I love gardening and being outside, I’m always ready for the change of seasons. Summer is an incredible, intense time, with some plants adding greenery by the yard every week. Just like the student who needs a break after exams, or the worker who needs a vacation after a deadline, I need a break from the garden, time to focus on other things.
And “other things” still includes plants. I don’t decorate the house… I just have houseplants. They will remind me of summer as I watch the tree leaves turn brown and drop, leaving the branches to form a sculpture against clear blue skies. The hardiest houseplants, those that can withstand curious cats, minimal light, and dessicating winter air, will clean and humidify our air throughout winter, evoking outdoor greenery and life each time the silence of snow fills the air.
As the days shorten, we are putting in place the things that sustain us through winter. This includes bright, full spectrum lighting; plug-in heated seat cushions for the cars; vitamin D; and cozy extra layers of all kinds. What are your winter essentials?