Spinach in October

I put the sides back up on my greenhouse today to find out how long I can torture the Malabar Spinach into producing. It likes heat, but has been forming smaller and smaller leaves trying to get to its seed setting stage. I wonder if I put a heater in there it could over winter. That would be awesome. Fresh spinach all winter.

I have cauliflower heads forming in there too so I’ll have to leave the door open for awhile. Don’t want to cook the cauliflower before I pick it. The sides of the greenhouse come off in the summer so that I can use it as a drying shed, but go back on in the winter so that I have someplace to sit through the rain squalls.

October is the month for spider webs. Have you ever noticed how they disappear when a cloud comes over? A dew encrusted orb spiders web makes you want to get the camera. There are spiders that spin webs along the barbed wire that makes it look fuzzy. Some spiders spin tacky webs to catch insects and non sticky strands so that they can walk on them without getting stuck. There is a spider that makes a web like a hammock, and another hammock underneath it.

The top web is always empty but the bottom one has insect carcasses and tiny leaf and twig bits in it. It’s obvious that the spider cleans the top web and discards the debris into the bottom. I pondered why even have a bottom web? Why not just let the debris fall to the ground? Then I realized that insects approaching from above would see the debris and think they could land on it, only to be ensnared in the upper web. Amazing bit of evolution.

There was snow on the mountain last night and we got about a half inch of rain. If we have many more cold wet nights it will be time to pull up the tomato plant. Lots of tomatoes will ripen over the next month if you hang the plant upside down somewhere that doesn’t freeze.

My plants are always too heavy to lift so I cut off 4′ branches, tie about five together at the cut end, and hang them in the house. A garage should work too. The cold seems to have improved the taste of the zucchini, or maybe it’s because I’m picking them smaller.

The trees are beginning their annual light show. Bright yellows, lime greens, golden mustards, tans and browns. Such incredible little factories, the leaves. Taking in sunlight on top. Using it to produce the carbon building blocks for the tree, and the necessary energy to build. Shipping them out the veins to the stems, and discarding water out the bottom.

As the sunlight wanes they lose their chlorophyll and can’t photosynthesize so they fade and fall, but their work isn’t done yet. They decompose and break down into the nutrients the tree needs, and get sucked back up to become new leaves next year.

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