Last night's hard frost finally brought an end to tomato season. We've had a satisfying crop of tomatoes this year, and we've also brought in many pounds of potatoes, squash, carrots and onions. Our canning shelves, freezer and root cellar are full. In spite of the drought, this has been a rewarding growing season and we've learned so much.
Cool fall temperatures don't necessarily signal the end of the season. Extending the growing season to Thanksgiving is possible even in Zone 5 Wisconsin. Our cheap little greenhouse continues to produce "eggplant poppers" and snack-sized green peppers. Although it's 42 degrees outside, the greenhouse can easily reach 80 when the sun is shining. As shown in the photo above, the eggplant are currently blooming.
We've hooped two of our raised beds for fall crops--spinach, Swiss chard, beets and small purple onions. The hoops are made from half inch PVC pipe and secured to the sides of the raised bed with PVC conduit u-rings. The hoops are covered with sheet plastic from the hardware store. We secured the plastic to 1x2 lumber on the long sides of the raised beds. The short ends are simply rolled up and tucked under some bricks. On warm days, I remove the plastic and let the air circulate.
Although it's nice to enjoy the fruits of our labor, the growing season isn't over yet!