A mild frost Saturday night did nothing discernible to the garden except for some of the sweet potatoes. I decided to empty two bags of peat onto the blueberry bed and top that with the contents of some of the sweet potato grow bags, thereby starting the fall harvest. Those bags of dirt were heavy! To allow the use of a small garden cart, I had to remove a couple of butternut squash and a sugar pumpkin from their still green vines as they were in the way. I managed to muscle three bags over to the blueberry beds before I decided that was enough for one day.
Last year's sweet potato harvest was a total bust. This year's is not quite so bad, but it is not going to be good, either, judging by the contents of those three bags. For one thing, a woodchuck decimated the plants early on, before we built a fortress around the garden. Then my placement of the grow bags and pots turned out to be too shady once the zinnias and sunflowers reached their full height. The never-really-hot temps did not help, either; I don't think we had a single day of 90+ weather.
Now I'm grumpy about the lack of a hard frost. This is the first year I have had such success with squash and pumpkin, and I want them to hold into the winter, which means leaving them on the vine as long as possible. It's difficult to do much of any other clean up in the garden until those vines are done, as they reach into almost every corner and bed.
The weather is usually different from year to year, but the past few years it seems more different in more ways than ever before. Can you say "climate change"?