Summer's almost gone, yes, winter's comin' on.........

Skybird - z5, Denver, ColoradoOctober 1, 2009

Hi all,

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.

From Veggies - 2009 From Veggies - 2009

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!"

From Veggies - 2009 From Veggies - 2009

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 8½" 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!


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And I wish that we didn't go directly from summer to winter. The high was 83 here on Tuesday and the low yesterday was 36 yesterday. My daughter said she saw snow flurries while at a football game last night.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:53AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Well I suppose it's only fair since last year we skipped spring and went straight from winter to summer. This year feels like we went from spring to fall. I have sheets over my tomatoes and eggplant since they're going so slow. I got a ton of scallop squash and will definitely plant those again, and am letting them go as long as they will. No peppers yet, but managed to grow carrots for a change.

No snow, no snow, no snow


    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 8:31PM
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A little irrelevant, but does anyone know if this weekend will be too late to plant thyme? I am new to fall planting and read that late october was the latest you can plant so, I ordered a few flats of pink chintz and was hoping to get it all in the ground next weekend(Oct9), but it seems now that it is getting too cold.

Should I go ahead and plant it, or am I better off throwing it into a pot in the house for the winter and doing it this spring? Please help me!

Also, if I can plant it am I ok to cut the 4" potted plants into fours before putting them in the ground or will that kill them for sure?

Thanks and sorry for shifting gears, I'm trying to get used to this site and posting messages.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 11:48PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Summer's over at my house : ( We had a killing frost Thursday night. There's still a few carrots and some lettuce in the garden, but I ripped everything else out yesterday. What's more depressing than the end of the veggie garden, is the lost of all of the annuals that were blooming in front of my porch. It was crammed with poppies, marigolds, and zinnias which I enjoyed every time I walked out the front door. Today, I guess I'll rip all of the dead plants out.

Xericgreen, I don't know the answer to your question, but I have planted perennials into late October before, and they did fine. Since the ground temperature is warmer than the air temperature, the roots will continue to grow even after the foliage dies back. I still have daylilies to get in the ground. I caught the virus that all of the kids had last week, so I haven't felt up to doing much outside. Maybe today it will get done ...


    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 12:22PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Xeric, where do you live? I dont see any reason at all why you shouldnt plant them now. With most perennials, you can plant them anytimeeven during the winteras long as the ground isnt frozen. The main problem with planting when its really, really cold out is that since they wont start growing, you dont know till spring if theyve actually made it or not.

When planting at this time of the year, put them in and then water them really wellSLOWLY and DEEPLYso the soil BELOW the roots is well watered. Then dont water again over winter unless the soil down at the level of the bottom of the roots is drying out. If we get a long, drawn out and dry fall, you may need to water again before winter really sets in. Rather than trying to divide them now, put the 4" plants in as one plant and then wait till they start growing well in spring and then go thru them and dig small rooted "plugs" out of the middle of them to transplant where you want them. Pink Chintz should be pretty easy to successfully plant now. Also, as Bonnie said above, if theyre planted now, the roots will be growing pretty much all winter, anytime the soil isnt frozen, so theyll get a really, really good start when they start to grow next spring.

Were glad youre here, and dont be afraid to start your own thread when you have questions. Any fall/winter posts are welcome on this threador any posts at all for that matterbut youll usually get more responses if you start a separate thread and people can see from the title what youre asking about. And if you start a separate thread, you can also have replies sent directly to your mailbox if you choose.

I got back from my trip last nite and found that the temp had only gone down to 36 while I was gone! Even last nite, which was a little bit colder, it only went down to 34. Guess I really didnt need to cut my tomatoes down after all, but with as cool as the days are going to be this week, and with as cold as the nites are getting, they wouldnt have developed anymore fruit anyway, and they can ripen slowly in the garage as well as outsidewhere Id need to keep worrying about them freezing.

Since cukes dont "keep" if you "hang them in the garage," and since I wasnt quite ready to give up on them yet, I did cover them. Theyre easy to cover because of the "framework" provided by the trellises theyre on. Just uncovered them about an hour ago, and theyre looking the same as when I covered them. I already have a bunch of cukes in the fridge, and there a lots of little ones on the vines, so the longer I can leave them outside, the longer Ill have them to eat! I covered a couple summer squash vines that have small ones on too, in hopes that they may keep developing, but that may or may not work. It sure is nice out here today! Its 60 in the shade on my deck, and Im sure its much warmer in the sun out in the yard (but my thermometer on that side of the yard needs new batteries!)

BP and Dafy, its really nice to see the two of you around here! We miss you when youre not posting.

My perennials, which were, in large part, ignored this year, are looking typically "fallish!" Buds are just starting to open on the Hillside Pink Sheffields" Dendranthema, and Im not planning to cover it this year, so it probably wont have time to develop its usual fall splendor! If Im around when were gonna get a hard freeze, Ill cut them and bring them in to enjoy indoors! The many dried flower stems on my Acanthus are going to be wonderful winter interest this year. Theyre visible in this pic behind the flopping (not enough sun) Agastache!
From Garden - 2009 July to Fall

Im hoping for a nice mild winter so I can get the tomato area turned over this year and ready for spring, and maybe even do some perennial "rearranging" over winter.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 4:45PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Even though I still felt pretty crummy this morning, I managed to get 8 of the 12 daylilies planted that you brought me Skybird. I also moved at least that many perennials around. Now I need to draw a little map, so when the foliage dies back, I'll know which one went where. I stick the plastic tag in the ground, but a lot of times they will break off over the winter, so I don't want to rely on them for identification purposes.

Whew, I'm going to rest now ...


    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 5:23PM
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Thanks for your replies; I am just east of Aurora in Bennett. Ok, well I just got a reply from my supplier and he won't be able to get me the thyme I ordered until late October. Does anyone think I should go ahead and plant them then, or should I get them this spring? I just want to get this yard of bare dirt covered with thyme as fast as possible, but I don't want to kill the plants trying to rush things! If you all have anymore advice on the matter, please let me know so I can defer my order or let them go ahead and ship when the product becomes available in late October!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 1:30PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Hey Skybird,

Sounds like you might be on a trip now, but not sure. Can you remind me of your email address? I recall that PMs didn't work for you from here, but I'm not sure if that's still true. Or you can PM me from here and give me your address that way.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 4:53PM
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