For areas that experience big seasonal changes in the year, the window for gardening – thankfully just like Paris Hilton’s moment in the limelight – is largely over. But unlike ol’ winky eye, there is still a little life left for your grower’s patch. Kale, beets, and crisp lettuce all grow very well in cooler weather and only take about 30 days to go from sprout to salad bowl. The trick is to squeeze those 30 days in before the first frost. And when will this first frost occur? No crystal balls required – just a bit of faith in the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Old Farmer’s Almanac utilizes carefully tracked weather patterns, climatology, solar activity and astronomy (never to be confused with astrology) to develop a forecast for the year. Its accuracy isn’t always exact (and sometimes not even close), but when it comes to the weather, what is? You may not be able to dress for the day based solely on it, but it’s not a bad way to plan your growing cycles. After all, people have been using it consistently for a very, very long time. The ‘Old” in Old Farmer’s Almanac is quite true; it first went to print in 1792 and hasn’t missed a year. I hear that makes the Old Farmer’s Almanac older than Andy Rooney, and that’s something!
So if the Old Farmer’s Almanac is your best guess for the first frost, some northern states and parts of Canada are already in that 30-day window for the last beet, kale and lettuce harvest (for my town of Toronto, October 6th is the first predicted frost – so the last planting of hearty veggies should have occurred by Labour Day long weekend. If you’re in that region and just planting now, you’re playing with fire – or rather – ice!). If you’re a touch south, you still have some time, so make sure you have your seeds – like these great organic and heirloom ones from Cubit’s – check the calendar, and get that last bit of gardening in.