Summer's almost gone, yes, winter's comin' on.........
Does summer have to end? Alright, I admit I wouldnt be happy living somewhere where there werenÂt four seasons, but somehow this summer seemed very short to me!
IÂve been watching the forecast for the last several days trying to figure out what to do before I leave on my trip tomorrow, and I finally made a decision. Since itÂs supposed to freeze tomorrow niteÂwhen I wonÂt be hereÂand since the weather for most of the next week is supposed to be in the 60's with nite temps in the low 40's, I spent several hours cutting my tomatoes down and hanging them in the garage. For those of you that werenÂt around here last fall to see my posts about this, hereÂs what I do with my tomatoes every fall. If you hang them like this, theyÂll ripen more slowly so you donÂt have to use them all at once, and even the ones that are already ripe will last longer than if theyÂre taken off the vine.
Here are the (all three of my tomatoes this year!) Plants before I did anything to them.
Here they are after I cut all the leaves off of the vines (so they wouldnÂt wind up all over the garage floor when they dried!)
From Veggies - 2009
HereÂs one of them after I cut it off at the soil level and rubber banded the stems together.
From Veggies - 2009
And hereÂs my "tomato store in the garage!"
A few of them always fall off while IÂm cutting them down and carrying them in, and those are in the kitchen where theyÂll ripen pretty fastÂthe ones that arenÂt already ripeÂand will be the first to be used. I donÂt think they will this year, because there arenÂt that many of them, but the one year they lasted me thru December. Actually considering they werenÂt planted till the end of June, I guess they actually did pretty well!
I had very little veggie garden this year, but one new success I did have is that I managed to grow a couple acorn squash! I was amazed! They werenÂt planted (seeds) till June 17! I got one full size one, and two small ones that are hard and should be ripe and keep wellÂand will be the perfect size for a meal for one person! (TheyÂre on an 8Â½" plate!) From Veggies - 2009
I posted pics of my potato harvest earlier, but since I had some growing potatoes in the cabinet, when I dug up the first batch, I planted a second batchÂaround the second week in August. TheyÂre looking great, and IÂm really curious to see what I get after they freeze. In the past couple years IÂve found them developingÂif not actually growingÂin my compost pile in the middle of winter, so this is an experiment! Here are the plants as of yesterday!
From Veggies - 2009
I have virtually no carrots or beets or parsnips this year! Since I was working, in an attempt to keep the seeds moist when I was gone, I covered them with a thick layer of grass clippingsÂtoo thick apparently, because almost none of them came up! So I wound up with TWO parsnips, and about a half dozen each of carrots and beets! Not sure how IÂm gonna do them next year to be sure I get decent germination!
But, the reason IÂm posting this is to let those of you who do have root crops know that you can successfully store them in the ground all winter if you want to! All you need to do is cover them with a thick layer (I recommend about a foot) of dry leaves (maple work very well!), and then cover the leaves with an old sheet or blanket to keep the leaves in place. Assuming theyÂre not covered with snow, all you need to do when you want some is to push the leaves back and dig up however many you want. And they donÂt need to be covered right now! They can easily take some freezes before being coveredÂand if you happen to have parsnips, remember that theyÂre actually better if they go thru a few hard freezes before theyÂre dug or covered.
I still wish summer would last a little bit longer!