Covering Winter Squash for Frost Protection

This has been a annual night-time ritual for me – covering winter squash and pumpkins in the field to save the crop from frost.  While you were getting ready for bed last night, I was outside laying a row cover fabric over big piles of squash in the field.  My only light to work by was two headlights from a van pointed in my direction and the only sound that whiny whirl of a van with too many miles on it.  I don’t know why and it seem strange to say, but it’s such a peaceful and magical ritual for me.  As I’m outside tramping around these dried up and crunchy squash vines and the temperature dropping minute by minute, I feel the presence of those who worked the fields before me; they look over my shoulder, trying to get close to the fall harvest they miss being a part of.

Covering squash also seems like some kind of strange early Halloween ritual.  If you drove by our place in the evening, all would appear normal, only to find a field of white ghosts the next morning.  Almost like I was out playing a trick on passer-bys.

After all that work, however, it looks as if the yesterday’s frost bell was a false alarm.  Maybe there was some frost in really low-lying areas, but everything looks just fine.  I think yesterday’s heat and sun really helped warm the ground which protected us with some extra night-time degrees.  Still, next week looks quite cold, so the rush to continue pulling in produce will continue through the weekend.

I invite all CSA member out this Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon and evening to glean tomatoes and peppers.  There are a lot out there and I want to give them a home instead of rotting on the vine.  At the end of the season, these aren’t the prettiest, but this is a good opportunity to get a good amount of peppers for freezing or tomatoes for canning.  No charge – it’s a perk for being a CSA member!

A reminder to CSA members to RSVP for the harvest dinner on the 22nd.  I do thank those of you who offered to make something, but this is not a potluck, so I do not expect people to bring something to pass; we’re making arrangements.  We’ll be working to transform our hayloft into a dining room, so let’s see if we can pull it off!

In the box:

  • Acorn Squash 
  • A Buttercup Squash 
  • Rutebega: The thing the size of a bowling ball.  Don’t worry though, rutebegas, unlike other veggies like turnips, can get really big without getting woody.  They will also keep in your fridge for 6 mos.  
  • Bunch of Carrots 
  • Summer Squash: You could see green zucchini, yellow zucchini, or pattypan squash.  However you prepare zucchini, you prepare other summer squash the same way.  
  • One White onion and One Red Onion
  • Tomatoes 
  • A mix of Peppers 
  • Fresh Rosemary 
  • Celery or Celeriac: Most people got celery, but some got celeriac, which looks like an ugly hairy root with a little stalk on top.  You use celeriac the same as you would celery (tastes the same). 

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