Saturday, August 08, 2009

Foiled Again

In the midst of having my daughter and granddaughter here for a visit (yes, pictures will follow, but I just had to get this in...) we had a dramatic shift in our weather. It had been warm with nights of having fans blowing on us to keep us all cool, or at the very least, comfortable. That was until last night.
This year has been a strange year, gardening-wise. We had cool weather last until the end of June. Even cold-loving seeds planted in late May were hesitant to do much of anything. Beans crept along...corn seems to be held in stasis...the tomatoes and zucchini planted in containers on the deck just sat there. When July hit, so did the hot weather of summer bringing with it the intensity of our 7,000 ft. summer sun. The monsoons never really amounted to anything. We watered and watered hoping for storms to come through to stimulate the garden into doing something.
But last night was the kicker. We got frosted. Usually we don't see any sort of frost until around 15 September, but in actuality we can have frost on any day of the year. Such is mountain living.
I was glad for the cool night for good sleeping. I vaguely remember Daisy trying to get under the covers with me while Mooch snuggled up along my leg, purring and vibrating, glad for the warmth. But when I got up this morning and turned on the TV to see what the forecast was for today, I saw the notice -a new record low temperature had been set for Flagstaff last night. Flagstaff itself was 36 F. Seeing that I knew we had to have gotten lower, most likely at least 32 F if not lower. I only had to walk outside and view the damage. The container tomatoes, zucchini, and some of the flowers on the deck were hit. So were the green beans and corn. The pumpkins were totally taken out. Sorry, sheep. It'll be store-bought pumpkins again this year. Some of the plants might try to come back, but we really don't have much time left in our growing season for them to make a good comeback. Darn.

I just have to remember the definition of what an optimist is: Optimist - A gardener in Flagstaff, Arizona. I know I'm not alone. Most other mountain gardeners have this same problem.
At least I hope I'm an optimist...some years I just feel like a fool.


Theresa said...

It HAS been a strange year. We're not quite as high as you here in the southern Oregon Cascades, but the cool down has been extreme. It's not uncommon to get a 40 degree spread in a day, but it is to be 40 F at night in August. I've had to add blankets to the bed!
Sorry about your veggies. The horses like pumpkins too, and a whole one to roll around is quite fun to play with it would seem.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh Kathy, what a bummer! Our garden isn't so hot this year, but at least we don't have to worry about frost damage!

Tammy said...

Wow...that is hard to believe that you got frosted already! All those pretty plants and hard work. So sorry..... We've turned very hot and dry here, and all the water I pour on the garden doesn't seem to do much more than keep them struggling along. My consolation to garden failure is that at least I don't have to grow my entire food supply for the year.....I'd be sunk for sure.
Take care,

Ivy said...

I'm glad to know that it is not just the northern Rockies that deal with such cold weather! Gardening in the mountains has certainly been a challenge, but I LOVE your definition of Optimism.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Weather has been weird everywhere! We have had unseasonably cold temps here the last few nights also, bet this winter will be off-kilter too. Sorry about your garden.

Franna said...

Awwwww, what a disappointment! Many a night in late September through October I've covered the tender crops to ward off the early frosts, but in August?! wow. You mountain gardeners really are optimists. Here's another one - people in Western Washington who plant tomatoes. We've really hit the jackpot this year, though. It's enough to keep us trying tomatoes for several decades.
- Franna

Val said...

Fancy frosts this early. I remember when we were over in Sept helping pick of the green tomatoes as frosts were due, would not have thought of them this early. Sure makes for hard gardening

Tina T-P said...

Oh man, that's awful. I wish you were closer, I'd drive over with a sack of green beans and a cauliflower. Good Luck tomorrow. T.

Leigh said...

What a bummer. About the garden I mean. I'd enjoy the cool sleeping though. Especially now as we're finally having a real heat wave here.

Sharon said...

That is such a disappointment. It is a marginal venture but who would expect frost in August?! I've kinda given up here, green tomatoes and no sign of peppers. They're not dead, but not productive either. I'm glad to have a 21st century grocery store to bail me out.