Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lakeside Microclimate

My lakeside garden benefits from its location along the Lake Huron shoreline. Even though today is October 15th, this area has yet to have a killing frost. The lowest morning temperature that I've recorded this fall is 38 degreees. I've been pulling out squash vines and tomato plants as part of the fall cleanup in the garden.

In the lower left of this photo you can see how vibrant the basil is yet. It's finally mature enough to flower. Even though I planted it late, we've enjoyed fresh basil in salads and with marinaras for over a month. The lower, bluish green plants are kale. Cabbage worms got to the kale about a month ago. Now I'm noticing that the deer are nibbling on it. Nonetheless, I like it in a frittata or shredded as an addition to salad. I might transplant a chunk of this row to a spot right outside the kitchen. A little snow will not bother kale and it would be nice to have fresh greens in early winter.

My morning glory tower was nibbled on by the deer. And they chomped on some beet greens too. they know enough to stay away from the eggplants which have a prickly thorn covering on the green cap. These two are almost ready to harvest. I'm finding that adding a half cup of diced eggplant to spaghetti or soup is a great way to introduce this vegetable into my cooking.

The deer really know better than to bother the marigolds which have a pungent odor and can make your eyes water if you accidentally brush your eye after touching marigolds. I love their punchy orange and yellows. Senator Everett Dirksen, Republican from Illinois, worked for many years to make the marigold our national flower. Dirkesen said, "I still find myself wedded to the marigold -- robust, rugged, bright, stately, single colored and multicolored, somehow able to resist the onslaught of insects. It takes in its stride extreme changes in temperature, and fights back the scorching sun in summer and the chill of early spring evenings."

The good senator from Illinois would approve of my patch of marigolds that brightens my garden along Lake Huron's shore this fall.

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