October, when the nights are delightfully chilly and the days are noticeably shorter! Dusky daylight at 7 am and dusky light at 6:30 pm, the high for the day stays there for brief minutes instead of hours. The weather has changed.
We will say farewell to sweet corn, though it lasted well into October this year—October 10! But apples and pumpkins are here in abundance, and we are especially happy that we had dry weather in August and September to make for happy pumpkins. And indeed, the pumpkins look great and are lasting well. The squirrels have been deterred from chewing on the pumpkins by hot pepper spray—it does not hurt the pumpkins but the squirrels don’t like the heat!
Freshly picked apples—crisp, crunchy, and so full of flavor! Each variety is special with its own unique blend of flavors. By the end of October, there are choices galore—and if you see a variety you haven’t yet tasted, the be brave! You will not be disappointed, and you may discover a new favorite. If you haven’t tried Crimson Crisp yet, you should –It is awesome!
Now the weather feels like a race—harvest apples, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, beets—before there is a freeze. But the quirky weather inspires us to gamble that frost will be delayed as well as a hard freeze. A lot of crops keep going, even with frosty weather. We continue harvesting outside until it is all transferred to the winter growing systems of under row covers, under hoop houses, and in tunnels.
My mother remembers the pressure to get the summer vegetables canned for winter eating—tomatoes, beans, squash, onions, mixed vegetables, pickled vegetables—this was the sole source of vegetables from November till March. There is a good reason she is an expert at canning—80 years of practice makes perfect! October has always been a busy month for farmers!
The trees drop their leaves so quickly, with a splash of color before they do—a visual memory to tide us over the winter.