Northern MN - still no frost!

northernmn(3/4)October 4, 2013

I cannot remember the last time that we went this late into fall without frost.My fruit crops are all done except for Autumn Britten.... a fall producing raspberry. Normally they produce very little because frost gets them at the start of production. This year, they have been the EverReady Bunny. They just keep going and going. Picture below:

Blueberry plants are just starting to turn color:

Ripe peppers: Bottom row is Japaleno. The sweet peppers above them are the type sold at Sam's Club and Costco. I planted seed taken out of peppers that I bought there. Anybody know what variety these are. You can see they are fairly small for sweet peppers.

This post was edited by northernmn on Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 21:27

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So a week has passed since you posted this, still no frost up there?

I assume the peppers are some type of commercial variety of hybrid mini bell. They look nice. I doubt they are this variety but here is an example: Mini Bell.

Your raspberries look very nice.

Here is a pic of my first harvest of parsnips. I usually do not harvest them until they go through a frost but I needed to bust an access path through the row. This is what I got from five feet of row, still have 65 feet of row left for harvesting through November. Had some for dinner last evening, they tasted great.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:00AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Looking good! I usually leave my parsnips through the winter and harvest them in the spring. I'll probably take a few once we get a frost. Hope to dig my sweet potatoes tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Are you saying that you leave your parsnips in the ground over winter to improve the flavor or simply as a long term storage method?

In the past I have kept them in the ground over winter but I did not care for how quickly they got full of all those little root hairs. Another issue was me always forgetting to plant the row of parsnips at an edge of one of the gardens so I would not have to trample through the muddy wet spring soil to harvest.

For dinner two nights ago I made my favorite mashed potato/parsnip combination. Last night I had a venison stew with parsnips, parsley root, celeriac, turnips, rutabagas, fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, parsley, basil. It was delicious. All the veggies and herbs were grown here, got the venison sausage this summer in a trade. :-)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:36AM
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As long as I am hijacking northernmn's thread I figure I may as well be thorough. ;-)

Here is a pic of the row of parsnips. I always get decent parsnips but this year was excellent because the cold wet spring aided greatly in seed germination, which with parsnips can often be poor or sporadic.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:56AM
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HaHa! At least you have extremely interesting hijacks Soilent! That is a huge row of parsnips. Do you have some kind of a root cellar to store them?

You garden looks extremely large, yet relatively weed free. How do you keep it that way?

What is the large, fairly tall plant to the left of the parsnips?

As a side note: Yes, it has still been frost free up here. Raspberries are still going and several vegie crops continue to produce.... including green beans.

I think that I finally found out that those little sweet peppers are really called "Yummy Snacking Peppers". Very similar to the ones you posted Soilent, but not a hybrid. They ripened very true to the peppers that the seed came out of.

In a normal year, many would have to be picked green this far north. Being frost free still, I've been getting loads of ripe ones. Several other varieties of peppers getting ripe as well: Anaheim, Jalapeno, Poblano, Cubanelle, and Bell.

This post was edited by northernmn on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 22:29

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 10:12PM
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"Do you have some kind of a root cellar to store them?" - I have a block outbuilding with a storm shelter basement. Main floor is kept dark and is super-insulated to moderate the storage temperature 365 days a year at minimal expense, the harvest is stored in there. I also have a storage refrigerator, a storage deep freezer, and I do a lot of dehydrating and canning. Different, often multiple, preservation methods are used depending on the vegetable. I try to cover all the bases. :-)

"You garden looks extremely large, yet relatively weed free. How do you keep it that way?" - By spending the last three days cleaning it up. LOL

This is the start of my new main garden, this is the second year. Below pic shows view facing southeast. I surrounded it by electric fence this year to keep the deer and raccoons out, it worked fantastic and I wish I had done this to my other gardens a long time ago. The tilled area is approximately 70 feet by 70 feet, with another 50 feet inside the fence that will be broken up this fall yet (hopefully). It can be expanded another 225 feet if needed.

Seriously, I am screwed. This is one of seven gardens and only the first one to be thoroughly cleaned and prepped for next year. Usually I am winding down the garden cleanup by this time. The kitchen garden is tiny and should only take half a day. Two others had been worked on back in August and should only take one day apiece to clean up. Another primary garden is going to take two to three days and the last primary garden will take at least three days to clean and prep and may have to be abandoned for this year. The final garden I consider a low priority garden and I have already abandoned it for this year. I mowed everything off and will attack it if time permits, but would be the last thing I do before the snow flies.

With all this nice weather and the continued harvests and processing, I simply procrastinated so I do not think I will have time for all the garden cleanup. Garlic planting season is approaching fast and also have fall chores such as leaf/lawn cleanup, tree trimming and wood cutting/splitting/stacking, horseradish harvest and processing, digging up remaining root vegetables, winter site prep, etc. I don't see it all happening unless the nice weather holds out into December, which we all know is a dicey prospect in Minnesota.

"What is the large, fairly tall plant to the left of the parsnips?" - Tobacco. Been growing out different varieties in isolation for seed. I no longer smoke (in fact I became allergic to nicotine, which made it "easy" for me to quit the smoking habit cold turkey - 4 1/2 years smoke free) but it is an interest of mine to see what varieties grow well up here. I have around 15 different varieties in my collection and I know how to properly cure the stuff, which is not that easy to do up in this cold climate.

The other isolated plants in that picture are volunteer flowers I am saving for seed. I let wild flowers grow rather than treat them as weeds as they attract pollinating insects into the garden.

All that is left in this garden food-wise is parsnips, celery, and kale. Easy stuff to harvest and clean up when the time comes.

Still have to remove the debris piles in the garden, will have to pick away at that project when time permits.

FYI the crop in the background of photo is sugar beets. A deer attractant, believe me.

Sounds like you are getting a decent pepper harvest up there. I would like to try those little sweet peppers myself, will keep an eye out for them at the big box grocery.

I am curious if this is approaching record territory for your area regarding delayed first frost? We went this late into October just two years ago, but before that we went a decade-plus of having first frosts in September. My records show a couple of October first frosts in the nineties and a string of October first frosts back in the late eighties.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 12:28AM
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Last Saturday night we were in a frost advisory so I picked the remaining peppers off most of my container plants and called an end to my pepper season. Still have a couple varieties of chilis and a two Fish pepper plants that I will keep alive in containers for a little while longer.

Top box contains a mix of orange habanero, bhut jolokia, naga dorset, fatali, bulgarian carrot.

Botom box contains two varieties of chocolate habanero, fresno, caribbean red, rocoto, purple cayenne, pasilla bajio.

We did not get a frost but the temperature did get down to 35 degrees Saturday night. Got down to 38 degrees Sunday night. The weather patterns are changing, the summer gardening season is over as far as I am concerned. Time for me to look forward to the future. Got two more gardens cleaned up over the weekend, rainy forecast for next couple of days will stop outdoor work for a while.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Geez.... I would think that there is enough heat in those 2 containers of peppers, to stop any frost in it's tracks ! Looks like some big batches of hot sauce are right around the corner.

After you asked if we are approaching a record "late" for a 1st frost date, I had to do some checking. There aren't any local records, so I had to check the records in Brainerd, which is 25 to 30 miles south of us. We average about 2 degrees cooler than they register.

For Brainerd: These are the dates and %age that a frost will have occurred by that date;

September 1st = 10% change of a 1st frost occurring
September 18th = 50%
October 5th = 90% chance of a 1st frost occurring.

Neighbors just 5 miles from my garden, had a frost Sunday night. My garden dodged the bullet! I picked raspberries and green beans today! ? !

It looks like out 1st frost will be Thursday night (October 17th). Remember, we average 2 degrees cooler than Brainerd. The odds have to be approaching 1 in 100 or happening once every 100 years. It could easily be a record as well, but there are no local records.

Wednesday, I will pick all of my peppers, green beans, beets, arugula, and carrots. I pulled all of my tomato plants and cages today. I've started making notes on what I want to do differently next year, and what new plants need to be tried out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Got down to 30 degrees here last night (Thursday). Was a rainy evening so everything was wet, as a result a lot of tender plants were protected from the cold.

Very wet conditions here, will now be difficult for timely harvesting of remaining field crops by farmers. Some tractors are stuck in the fields. My fall garlic planting might be one big mess this year if conditions do not improve in the next three to four weeks. Rainfall amount has totaled 2.5 inches so far in October with 1.5 of that amount happening over the last four days.

Where was this rain two months ago when the gardens really needed it?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:34AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

The frost may have held off but now it is quite cold for fall growing. I got the last of my beds covered in row cover or plastic today (winds have been awful). I finally had success with my low tunnels and have several different kinds. As some of the crops get done I can take off their layers and add to the beds still going. It is sure nice picking under there and being I am short it isn't that hard to bend.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:23PM
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