What’s Still Growing in the Garden?

It’s November 9th today, and up until now we’ve only had slight frost a couple nights, so many of my plants and flowers are still producing, even if it’s not much.  Before pulling up some of my vegetable plants to get the beds ready for the winter I thought it would be interesting to take some photos.  A lot of people are in a hurry to get the harvest season over with so they can get everything bedded down for the winter, but I have a hard time rushing things if there hasn’t been a real frost yet and I think I can get a few more plates of veggies from some of my plants.  

My green beans still produce a good pot full of beans every week, and I am letting the bigger pods remain so I can get seeds for next spring. Later I’ll take them into the house to dry out.  I’ll leave the plants in the ground probably until the frost comes and all growth has ceased.  

The broccoli is still producing a pot full of florets every week, so the remaining six plants will stay in the ground until they too have ceased producing.  I can’t believe I used to pull up my broccoli plants every summer after I thought they would no longer produce broccoli heads.  Little did I know how many more buckets full of broccoli florets I would have had if only I’d left them alone. What was I thinking!!!   

The parsnips grew way beyond my expectations.  I didn’t realize how large they were getting and waited too long to pull them.  They are supposed to taste better when they are in the ground during the cool winter, but mine have been in since May, and they are so huge I’m not sure if it is okay to eat them like that.  I did cut the big one up into cubes the other day and then roasted them with other root vegetables, and they tasted fine, so I guess they’re okay.  Parsnips will keep in cold storage, so I’ll pull up the remaining ones soon and store them in some straw in a bucket like I do with the potatoes.  Next year I will have to keep my eye on them and pull them up sooner before they get so large.  

 Brusselsprouts are also cool weather plants, so I can leave them in for quite some time and just harvest each stock as needed.  I had so hoped this year that I could outwit the aphids, but unfortunately even the organic pesticide I used, along with lots of spraying with the hose, didn’t keep them away.  When the brusslesprouts are covered in aphids you have to peel away most of the outer leaves to get to the unspoiled inner head.  By that time, the brusslesprouts are so small I question whether it’s worth it or not to keep trying to grow them.  I have noticed that since the colder weather the aphids have disappeared, so hopefully that will give me bigger and better tasting brusslesprouts in a couple weeks and I can prepare some for Thanksgiving.  

Leek does fine in the garden well into the winter, so I will let those stay in there until I feel they are starting to rot.  If they can’t take the frost, I’ll do what Ruth Stout did and throw straw on top of them.  I will also put some into cold storage next week and see how they do over the winter.  

Although I’m taking some of my tomatoes into the house to hang them so they can ripen, I will leave the plants in the ground a while longer to give the remaining tomatoes a chance to ripen naturally.  I just keep hoping for another week of sun before Thanksgiving. It’s probably time to try pickling some green tomatoes as well, so that’ll be a new canning experience for me in a couple weeks. 

Kale does great in cool weather too.  I just need to fence out my chickens since they like to eat the lower leaves.  At least the top leaves are still growing fairly undisturbed. The Swiss Chard would have been okay to keep in the ground as well, but my chickens got to them.  Lettuce, of course, always handles the cool fall weather fine.    

I wish I would have planted more carrots, but as usual I didn’t thin them properly, so I wasted so many plants because they were too small to eat after being overcrowded. In the market organic carrots are cheap, so they aren’t a priority for me to grow, but since they do so well in the ground in the winter it makes sense to grow them in the garden to have them available as needed.  

This is my first year I have tried to grow yams, and so I’m not sure what to do there.  I don’t think they are big enough yet, so when the frost comes I’ll throw some straw over them to see if I can protect them and give them a little more maturing time.  The top leaves are sensitive to frost and will wither quickly if not covered. 

Potatoes can easily be dug up and put in cold storage in October, so that’s what I’ve already done.  I just put them in a large trash container layered into the straw.  That should keep them fine for several months. 

Before I lived in my home and had my garden I used to dread the end of summer because I found the darkness and shorter days difficult to adjust to.  I just assumed that it was SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Fortunately that’s not the case anymore.  Now I see the fall and winter as a period of rest and rejuvination for my garden, and me.  It’s a natural part of the cycle of nature, and it feels harmonious.  Since I’m outside so much over the winter anyway, I get just enough outdoor light to keep those funky feelings at bay.  Just because you can’t see the sun through the clouds in the winter, the ultra violet rays are still strong enough to charge one up.  That and a strong cup of coffee, of course! 

In the weeks ahead, I will be spreading around more manure and gathering lots of leaves to cover all my beds with. On top of that I’ll be laying down straw.  Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here, then the other holidays and it will be back to planning the garden for spring.  I can’t wait!

Share Button

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>