In the final throes of closing down the garden for the year, we were instead out in the garden, digging up potatoes and the remaining carrots in spite of perfect barbequing-camping weather.
That sacrifice ensured getting it done before the weather turns diabolically wet, ugly, and the soon-to-be-frozen stone-hard ground becomes covered with evil snow.
The fact is, in NW Ontario at this time of year it has usually already frozen overnight at least five or six times, and Canada geese, assorted ducks and robins can be seen flocking south. Our smart little army of RubyThroated hummingbird regulars are long gone from the strawberry-red feeders by this time too, so I was taking the annual hint from nature -- to get moving.
If not quick on the garden fork, the tardy, careless gardening procrastinator in Northwestern Ontario soon makes two amazing discoveries:
a) It’s muddy, cold, wet and ugly later on, and
b) One should have dug the stuff while the weather was nice instead of waiting until it’s muddy, cold, wet, and ugly later on.
Having learned that lesson the hard way during blizzards in previous gardening expeditions, I pulled the beets too, dug out piles of evil quack-grass roots to prepare and plant the new, improved garlic beds, -- and picked the three remaining and lonely turnips sans tops .
In the process I brilliantly observed that some diabolic 4-legged critters had been surreptitiously nipping tops off of stuff little by little. No wild horses or delinquent cattle are close enough to our remote location to help themselves to organic vegetables, but it seems the odd trio of whitetail deer makes up for it.
At Incoming Bytes we love to analyze problems. I know what the problem was. The carrots aren't there, but the deer were. They first tasted some ripe yellow Heyer # 12 apples from a tree close to the garden. My little 6" grafted baby apple sprout that I am so proud of is a full-sized producer now, and they're not my favourite eating apples anyway, --but the deer must like them just fine, because they came back repeatedly.
Deer are optimists, tasting and testing things here and there. They cinched off a bunch of handy carrot tops while they were at it. They undoubtedly enjoyed a few choice and easily-pulled Nantes at the same time. How do I know? I haven’t seen Bugs Bunny around, but there were cartoon-like toothless carrot rows in hard evidence. Missing carrots. Carrot-free zones where no man or rabbit has gone before.
Just so you know, the remaining carrot popped out of the ground easily today too. Fine carrot isn’t it?
|Not a bad Carrot.|
I jest. Not to worry, with some luck and digging topless carrots, we were left with more than one. We found a few carrots. In organic veggie-land, even a few perfect carrots are wonderful to behold --and far better tasting than the plastic supermarket variety.
Carrot-inventory challenged or not, all was not lost, for out there in the fresh air and blazing October sun I also seemed to be energized a bit. I took that rare opportunity to fling mulch about energetically here and there, covering up any weeds and soil that was bare.
Whilst I was at it --and before I finished with aching back, I was wishing for more energy. I ran out of mulch too.
It seems I need a lot more of both. I need a lot more mulch, humungous piles of it; leaves, grass, hay, straw and sawdust. Lesson learned. Never take a huge pile of mulch for granted, the space-time continuum of mulch somehow shrinks exponentially and magically. Maybe that's a good thing when the back is aching enough already.
With the October sun beaming down upon me, I am now also a firm believer in planting more carrots by accident, -or even by clever planning. If I’m very lucky in the future, I shall thereby end up with more carrots by default, after the deer pry most of them out.
By extrapolation, I shall also thereby end up with more food energy which is necessary to fling mulch pretty far and save energy.
It's a green thing:
Far-flung mulch = flying mulch = energy saved.
I have also concluded one can never have too many carrots in or too much mulch on the vegetable patch.
How do I know? The deer like the improved quality, size and flavour of the stuff.
Not a bad thing to contemplate whilst putzing around, smiling, and humming obscure tunes in that warm October sun.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.