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Still picking...

Posted by shankins123 7aOKC (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 23:15

...GREEN BEANS :)

Yes - I have picked many hands-full of my fall Blue Lake green beans. The 7 or 8 days that it fell to the 20s/30s I covered them with a frost cover and an old thin bedspread - that did the trick! I've kept them watered and out in the sun as I've been able to, knowing that it won't last forever, but it's sure been fun.

Sharon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Still picking...

That's wonderful, Sharon! Isn't it fun to be able to harvest so late? I finally stopped covering mine up because we were dipping down to 22-26 degrees, and I was tired of dragging out the row covers night after night. Also, the freezer was full. I think that my fall beans produced for many more weeks than the summer ones normally do. Of course, it has been a warm mild fall with only a few cold nights thrown in. We hit 82 degrees here today so it is hard to believe it is December.

Although I let the beans freeze, we still have tomatoes and peppers and lettuce in the greenhouse, lettuce in the cattle trough near the garage, and then all the winter crops, including lettuce, in the ground in the big garden. I have covered the in-ground lettuce with row cover on a few cold nights, and cover the cattle trough lettuce with row cover every night so the deer won't mosey over to the trough and eat the lettuce. Everything else that still is growing (collards, kale, chard, broccoli, cabbage, beets, brussels sprouts, etc.) is cold-hardy and only has had a small amount of damage on one night when the forecast was for 32 and we went down to 22 or 24 depending on which thermometer you trust.

I'm starting to get a little worried that I am not going to get a break at all from gardening....I think the fall/winter garden still will be producing when I start planting the 2013 garden. Most years, it gets too cold in December or January for anything except the kale and Swiss chard to hang on....but this year is not like most years.

If your beans keep producing for a few more weeks, that will be some kind of record....who would think you could still be harvesting green beans in OKC in December?

This hot weather is confusing my trees. My fig tree just finally dropped all its leaves last week, and now that we're hitting the 80s, it is trying to leaf out again. Gardening here is getting stranger and stranger.

Dawn


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RE: Still picking...

Congrats on still harvesting beans, Sharon! You, too, Dawn, altho it sounds like you would like a break, lol!

I still have Gulf Frits in the yard, eclosing from their chrysalises and flying about nectaring on the Lady in Red Salvia and Cowpen Daisies. Yesterday I found two Clouded Sulphurs mating in my DD's yard! Now that is a total surprise because they usually aren't doing that in December! She has clover, a host plant for them, that is still green - it loves this cool weather, not hot, and yet not a totally frozen tundra yet. I am wondering if we are ever going to experience a true winter here............

Susan


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RE: Still picking...

With temperatures in the low 80s and lower 70s lately, I feel like the gardening seasoning isn't going to end any time soon.

Sharon still may be harvesting beans in January if the weather doesn't cool significantly.

Susan, I am getting kind of tired of the garden and think I do need a break. I'm not exactly complaining--it is awesome to still have half the garden full of crops that are producing at the same time I'm cleaning up and amending the beds that don't have anything growing in them. It's just that between all the holiday preps, fire dept stuff and the garden, I feel like I have too much to do. Also, since no rain to speak of is falling, I'm still watering, and watering, and watering. It feels more like September here than December and that is just plain odd.

Dawn


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RE: Still picking...

Since we're supposed to have consecutive nights in the mid-20s this coming weekend...I'm probably going to harvest the last of my beans on Friday and then be done with it. I'll have to see how many have bloomed and set before I decide...it's been fun, but I'm about done, too. Everything needs a rest already!

Sharon


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RE: Still picking...

I think my asparagus is finally starting to die back. Some that was green yesterday is looking yellow today. I don't know why it has lasted so long because most other things have been brown for a long time.


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RE: Still picking...

Sharon, I agree that 'everything needs a rest already" including the gardeners!

Carol, My asparagus has been the same way. I keep looking at it and thinking "will you please turn yellow already". This week is it beginning to oblige me.

Even though the weather this weekend was really too hot for December (80+ degrees? ridiculous!), I'll like next week's very chilly weather even less, which just goes to show that the weather cannot please me no matter what it does.

All kinds of flowers are blooming that apparently had frozen down to the ground and then regrew, including marigolds and periwinkles. I'll be kinda sad to see them go, but think next week's cold nights will get them too. Dandelions and henbit are blooming all over the yard and there's henbit I let stay in the garden beds for the sake of the butterflies. I don't think temps in the 20s will kill the henbit or dandelions so at least the butterflies will have those. We've had more butterfly activity in December so far this year than ever before.

I've got a bunch of volunteer cherry tomato plants about 6" tall and I'm thinking of potting up a couple and bringing them inside. They've made it this far, so I kind of hate to let them die now.

Dawn


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RE: Still picking...

I agree about the Ready To Relax crowd.
Here's what I expect to be the last of my greens 12/08/12-
I need to clean a full bucket of lettuce and one of spinach that I picked after taking these pics.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket


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RE: Still picking...

I have been harvesting a lot every day trying to bring in as much as I can ahead of the cold front. I finally harvested the last of the broccoli, and the final 5 heads of green cabbage. I have 10 or 12 heads of red cabbage to harvest today, and 12 rows of mustard greens, collard greens, turnips, beets, kale, Swiss chard, carrots and lettuce left to harvest before our low temp drops down to around 20 degrees on Monday night. Six of the rows are only 15' long, but the rest of them are 30-40' long.

We have an extra refrigerator in the garage, so I'll be able to store some of the greens there for us to eat fresh, and I'll freeze the ones I can freeze.

I've been harvesting all the greens using the cut and come again method, but this time I'll cut the greens off pretty low and then I'm going to throw heavy mulch over what is left of the plants. Maybe under that mulch they'll survive the cold and start regrowing later in the week when the temperatures warm up again. If not, it has been a great fall and early winter garden. It just is really hard for me to let go of it and let it die without making some effort to protect it from the cold.

In the unheated greenhouse, I stripped the tomato and pepper plants of all usable fruit left on them. I left some small fruit although I expect that everything will be frozen when I go out into the greenhouse Tuesday morning.

I brought inside the two potted citrus trees, a big pot of Italian large leaf basil, and a pot of rosemary. They're all in the breakfast room. Then, tonight I'll drag the two potted figs, and the two potted brugmansias into the garage.

All the flowers that are blooming in the yard, garden, and greenhouse are about to freeze and the butterflies and I will miss them.

I expect our temperatures here may go lower than forecast. Last night I watched in fascination as our forecast low went 20 degrees lower than forecast. (It is hard to have any degree of confidence in the NWS forecasts when stuff like this happens, and it happens fairly often.) Our low was supposed to be 59, but we already were down to 47 degrees before midnight. Our overnight low was 39 degrees at our Mesonet station and 42 degrees at our house. That makes me wonder if our forecast low of 18-20 for Tuesday night will be 18 or 20 or if it will be significantly cooler.

We still have the greens in tubs in the greenhouse. They may or may not freeze. We have greens in an old wheelbarrow that I can push into the garage, which may stay above freezing since it is well-insulated. Then, there's the cattle trough, which is packed with a lot of cool-season greens, including lettuce, kale, mustard and Swiss chard. I have built a gigantic wall-o-water type system around the whole trough with kitty litter buckets filled with water and they may keep the plants in the cattle trough alive and happy. I have floating row cover to place over the trough during the cold days, and then at night I will throw heavy blankets over that. I'm not willing to let the cattle trough plants go without a fight.

You know, despite the really difficult weather, I had a great garden year here and am sad to see it end. All good things come to an end though, and if now is the time that it all freezes, then so be it. It's almost time for me to start seeds of plants that go into the ground in February any how, so a little of a break between the end of the 2012 garden and the beginning of the 2013 garden will be tolerable.

Dawn


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RE: Still picking...

For me, 2012 gardening had a great Spring, a lousy Summer, then a great Fall. I am glad (sort of) that I don't have all the space that Dawn has, or I really would work myself to death. It is nice to be able to take advantage of good weather to extend the growing season, but it will be nice to be able to wake up without having a big to-do list.


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RE: Still picking...

Oh..me, too! When I'm gloating about picking green beans, you've got to understand that I'm talking about approx. 8sf of plants - I picked about 2 dozen beans at a time, hahaha...

I picked the last of them yesterday and left the plants to the whims of winter!!

Sharon


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RE: Still picking...

I didn't pick all of my lettuce, but I threw a blanket over it to give it a little protection. I doubt that it will matter since the temp is going so low. For the next 4 nights we show 21. 18, 21, and 29. I noticed a container with some small petunias in it, so I put it inside, and I expect everything to be frozen this week. This is only about a week earlier than I normally lose my salad greens. then I don't have any garden projects (normally) until February, but I am thinking of starting some onion seed in January this year.


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RE: Still picking...

Carol, only having a 2 month hiatus from gardening activity indicates a pretty darned good gardening year, doesn't it?

My goal right now is to just get thru the holidays and then I can begin again, with renewed energy and excitement.

I still have a couple of green (well, they're red now) peppers on one of my Jalapeno plants outside. This plant is very well protected with surrounding vegetation, a big old fat, squat pine tree, and the concrete sidewalk and driveway on two sides.

Susan


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RE: Still picking...

Sharon, To me, it doesn't matter if you're picking your beans from an area of 8 square feet, or 80 or 800. The important thing is that you have beans to pick, cook and eat. It is wonderful regardless of how large or small the harvest is!!!!! So, I hope you were gloating every single time you picked a single bean. Picking beans in November and December automatically confers upon you full gloating rights, and bragging rights as well.

Carol, I spent too much time yesterday shopping (both online and in the stores) and not worrying about my garden. I ran outside and pulled all the exposed containers into the garage, and I tossed moving blankets over the row cover that already covered the cattle trough lettuce. I weighed them down carelessly with a couple of short pieces of 2 x 4 lumber because it was not windy at all. I wasn't very worried about wind because there wasn't any. So, of course, this morning I came outside and had moving blankets and short lengths of 2 x 4 lumber lying on the ground and the floating row cover was covered with snow. Poor neglected lettuce plants! I thought maybe the snow and 23-degree temperatures had harmed them. I just went outside a minute ago and lifted the row cover and dumped the snow off of it onto the ground. We are up to a toasty 29 degrees now), and all the plants in the cattle trough are fine, including the volunteer tomato plants that are about 6" tall. Tonight I will cover them well and will weigh down those blankets with green metal fence posts because it is supposed to be in the teens tonight.

I'm generally happy if I can keep any lettuce or salad greens going through mid-December, but Tim is a lettuce maniac so I'd like to keep it going all winter this year since having fresh greens makes him so happy. I never have done that before, but I'm trying harder this year to keep it from freezing.

Susan, I agree that two months of down time from the garden is a pretty good achievement in our climate, but I'm shooting for less than that, just so Tim can have his salads. Once you get used to fresh, home-grown lettuce and cabbage, the grocery store lettuce and cabbage pale by comparison.

I suppose a person could keep salad greens going all winter in containers in a sunny area in a house (or under lights) or in a well-insulated garage, but I've never bothered to try. Usually by the time we are busy with the winter holiday preparations, I'm ready for a little bit of a break from the garden too. In a strange way, I feel oddly relieved after everything in the big garden has frozen in December because I don't have to worry about the cold nights any more. I haven't checked the big garden yet, but everything in the greenhouse and garage are fine, as are the few pots I brought indoors and the cattle trough greens and perennial onions. Tonight's cold may wipe out the big garden though, and I'll be okay with that. One less thing to worry about....

Dawn


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