Oh, Bear Zheen!

Oh, I just love these tiny eggplants we’ve been having! The dark ones are a variety called ‘Hansel’ that the OSU Extension has had success with at their test garden out in Redmond. The white ones are called ‘Gretel’. When growing crops that require (or at least, desire) very hot weather, we’ve found it useful to seek out miniature varieties in this climate.

Quick botany lesson: Most vegetable crops completely stop growing when the ambient temperature drops below 50°F. In the High Desert, this is a frequent – almost nightly, in fact – occurrence.

Thus, vegetables growing without protection (in other words, not in a greenhouse or other protected spot) take at least two weeks longer to mature here than they would in another climate. Combine that fact with the likelihood of very late (May or June) and very early (September) frost, and it is tricky – sometimes impossible – to get certain crops to come in here.

The early and middle parts of this summer were so persistently cool that the usual problem of slow growth was compounded significantly. And so we had salad forever!

We’re all thankful to be getting a little more variety these days.  And thankful, too, that protective measures saved the tender crops from Wednesday night’s “unseasonable” freeze. It’s hard to understand what made it unseasonable, since there’s been a similarly-timed freeze every year that we’ve been growing here. But at any rate, the tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, et cetera all lived to grow another day.

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