Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sun in the November Garden

I usually think of November as a grey and dreary month. I should know because this is my birthday month and I was always a little envious of other kids who could celebrate their birthdays with pool parties and lawn games. When I think back to Novembers past, I think of rainy and sleety weather punctuated by grey clouds.

Since we had surprise snow right around Halloween this year, I pulled everything from the garden early and put the gardens to bed a few weeks earlier than last year. Note to climate-adapting self - build cold frame to keep winter greens from being squashed by unexpected foot of snow.

However, this November was a delight! We had more sunny days than I can recollect and the temperatures were crisp and welcoming. The chickens' water only froze once or twice before we installed a metal heating pad for the waterer. Because it was so sunny, I truly realized that the days are actually not that short... we are still getting 9.5 hours of daylight. Which is certainly enough to sustain some green vegetative growth. (Check out US Naval Oceanography's daylength calculator.)

Or enough to encourage the myrtle to bloom!! I also found a dandelion blooming in the driveway, but didn't manage to snap a photo.

November 20th, with Vinca minor in bloom

Eliot Coleman writes in his book Four Season Harvest about the funny trick of latitude - where he lives in Maine, he is at the same latitude as southern France. The climate is different, but the day length is the same. With a few adaptations to protect against the colder and drier weather, we can grow and harvest fresh vegetables... even in the grey months of the year.

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