It finally hit. The first killing frost of the season has relegated most of the garden to a crisp, saggy mess. It's still only 28F at 8:30 this morning, so the temperature must have really plummeted last night. From the window, I can see that the two remaining summer squash plants are gone (I'm glad I picked that last tiny zucchini yesterday!), the last cherry tomato is toast, the marigolds aren't the least bit merry, and the basil is kaput. I covered the rabbit's mesclun bed and my spinach/lettuce bed last night, so I don't yet know if they were damaged by the cold.
Yesterday in the garden I planted my garlic. I've always done spring planting of garlic in past years, but I've been told it will grow much larger with a late fall planting, just before a freeze, and it looks as though my timing was perfect. Not being a connoisseur of fine garlic, I picked up two healthy looking heads at the grocery store and had enough to plant 21 cloves, with plenty left over for the kitchen. I amended the small garlic plot with composted manure mixed with peat moss, and buried the cloves pointy side up, about two inches deep. This is quite a bit deeper than my spring planted garlic, but necessary to keep the freezing and thawing ground from heaving them to the surface.
My two blueberry bushes, which had been sadly neglected for the past couple of years and rewarded me by giving me an entire cup of berries this year rather than the abundant pickings of previous years, got a good top dressing of the manure/compost/peat mixture as well. Next spring I'll be sure to give them an application of fertilizer for acid loving plants. If it warms up enough to work outside today, I need to do the same for the rhododendron bed.