Zone 6 gardeners most of us have not experienced a frost yet, which is truly amazing with tomorrow being Halloween. But the writing is on the wall. Anything that you intend to do in the garden must be done now, otherwise you may as well hunker down and wait for spring. Here are some matters that require attention.
A last minute search for crops can be productive. There are always a few edibles hiding out. Bell peppers for example – the plants look like they have died and they have for the most part, but hidden under those droopy, wilted leaves are peppers which are in perfect condition but unseen because they are as green as the leaves. Look closely, you will find them.
The ones in the picture were picked yesterday, October 29. They are in superb condition. Late season peppers by the way, have thicker, juicier walls than their late summer bush-mates.
The wrinkled, nasty looking peppers? Those are your seed peppers. Open and remove the seeds and dry them for use for years to come.
Pull the rutabagas, turnips, beets, radishes and chard that may be lingering. However, leave the kale and collards, they are improved by frost. Also leave a few specimens of whichever biennial plants you wish to collect seeds from next spring. Beets, radishes, chard and all the brassicas come readily to mind.
Are there still pumpkins and winter squash in your garden? This is your very last chance to pick and store them indoors for tasty squash all winter long.
Do you have any digging to do? Last chance before the frost and temperature makes this an unpleasant chore. Turn those beds, add that compost. You’ll be so happy that you did so next spring.
Are you using your own garden soil to start seeds, or are you planting turnips and carrots in 5 gallon buckets to get a huge jump on the season next year? Then you must gather your soil and compost now, before they turn into unworkable masses.
Which would you rather do? Work in your garden this week end, or clean the gutters? I think you know the answer.
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