Weekend Gardening: Transition from Summer to Winter

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Summer to winter sounds like a big jump, and that’s how it felt around here for a couple weeks. We hit a cold snap in mid October that caught the garden and us by surprise. Daytime temperatures dropped into the 40s, and though we didn’t have a frost the tomato and pepper plants stopped production. We pulled all the ripe tomatoes and left the green ones on for a little longer to see if they might ripen. After the hard frost on November 7, all the tomato and pepper plants drooped and we gathered the remaining tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos.

Andrea Meyers - cleaning out the tomatillos and tomatoes

We brought in about 20 pounds of tomatillos, about 5 pounds of green tomatoes, and about 20 peppers, including a plethora of poblanos.

Andrea Meyers - poblano peppers

The white habanero plant finally kicked in last month and we have a bunch of tiny yellow and white habanero peppers which managed to survive the frost. The chiles start out green, turn yellow, then finally white.

Andrea Meyers - white habanero peppers

Michael cleaned out the plants and we gathered all the tomato and pepper cages from the three beds. They look so empty now.

Andrea Meyers - vegetable cages

The blueberry bushes have turned red and are dropping their leaves. We had a small crop this year, not bad for the first year, and we look forward to seeing the leaves return in the spring and perhaps a few more blueberries next year.

Andrea Meyers - blueberry bushes in autumn

The chards were overtaken by the monster turnip (far end), which we finally dug up. The scallions (left) have continued to thrive in the cool weather, and we are digging up the last of the summer lettuces and waiting for the winter crop to sprout. We have some cold frames we’ll put over the lettuces to keep them going through the winter.

Andrea Meyers - raised bed #2, chards, scallions, lettuce, turnip

We harvested the ginger which had been growing in a pot on the deck all summer (photo taken in July).

Andrea Meyers - ginger plant, July 2009

We only planted two small nubs of ginger and were pleased with the amount we got in return. Since the experiment was a success we will grow more ginger in pots next year.

Andrea Meyers - ginger root, harvested Nov. 2009

With the cool Autumn season our garden is still producing. The cilantro is happily sprouting in both the beds and the pots and giving us flavorful leaves, and the sage, mint, thyme, and parsley will continue throughout the winter.

Andrea Meyers - sage, thyme

The garlic crop was a great success and we planted more this year. Last year we planted about 20 cloves, this year 80. Raised bed #4 (below) has 60 cloves planted around the perimeter and we put the other 20 in raised bed #1 after adding more compost and soil and raising up the herbs. We got the garlic in the ground a little later due to the sudden attack of winter—they need to be planted in mid October to early November—but they should sprout soon.

Andrea Meyers - raised bed #4, garlic planted around perimeter

We are much further along than this time last year. The beds are in place and we have cold frames and floating row covers all set to go, so hopefully we’ll be able to keep some winter lettuces and other things going until spring. And in the meantime, we’ll start planning for the next summer garden.

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  1. says

    How exciting! It’s really cool that you got some ginger to grow. Have you tried cooking with it yet?

    I miss our old garden back in San Jose.

  2. says

    What a bountiful garden! I just have a container garden right now where I grow herbs, tropical plants and toomatoes but maybe when we move next year I can have a decent one. I’m intrigued by your white habanero. How hot are they?

  3. says

    The vegetables look delicious, especially the peppers. Mmmm :)

    I don’t have nearly the space you have for your garden, but with the small amount of space I do have, I’m extremely excited for spring already.


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