In the pine tree on the north side of the greenhouse, a solitary chickadee wheezed out a sad and lonely, “Chee-dee-dee!” I stepped into the building and examined the rows of plants before me. Bright green parsley, healthy rosemary, thyme and oregano peeked out from behind billows of ruffle-leafed kale.
In another row, waves of pink and purple petunias tried to outdo the colorful yellow, orange and purple mounds of chrysanthemums. The canna, calla and amaryllis lilies were finished blooming for the year, but their healthy leaves were fattening up to store energy for next year’s blossoms.
One sixty-four-foot row was planted entirely in tomatoes. Most plants were huge and vibrantly green, covered with fruit of all sizes and stages of ripening. Six black krim tomato plants, an heirloom variety, were covered with yellow blossoms despite the heavy harvest they’d already given this summer.
Usually night-time frost kills my garden plants at the end of September. The killing frost almost always happens by the end of the first week of October, but not this year. Here it was October 25th, only two months before Christmas, and the plants were still bright and fresh.
Slowly pulling on a pair of black nitrile gloves, I walked purposefully toward the tomatoes. I couldn’t believe what I was about to do! For the sake of having a clean garden next spring, I was about to commit plant murder! Was it a breeze coming in the building’s open side flaps that made the tomato leaves quiver? Continue reading