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Mid-Atlantic November update

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Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Megan on 11/3/2010, 7:02 pm

Hey all,

Wow, what a month! Autumn just took an abrupt turn for the colder around here. We winterized our irrigation system Halloween morning, and today was the second day I've had to scrape my windshield. I know many of you further to the north have already seen some snow. We are due for rain the next few days here and good thing lows are only in the 40's; a bit colder and we'd have a huge mess on our hands. Virginians don't grok snow very well.

I had to tear out my garden at the beginning of the month (evil HOA!) but there are still some lurkers about!

We planted flowers in the SFG beds, but what I've discovered is I've got more onions than I thought. I planted a LOT of them (75+) in the spring in my two beds, spotted around in a feeble hope of keeping away SVB and other pests. Many got shaded out by the other plants, and over the last few months I've pulled a bunch of thumbnail sized ones and thought the rest were gone/dead. What's happening now is that, with full sun contact, the remaining ones seem to be coming to life. Guess I should have left the others in the ground.

I also planted Egyptian walking onions and some garlic (gifted from a SFGer) in late October; the onions went in a pot and the garlic went into my carrot high-rise. They are both sprouting a little and seem healthy. I have a missed carrot in the high-rise, and there is SOMETHING sprouting in that pot that is not an onion. Looks like a veggie to me (nice small seed leaves) but I haven't a clue what it is. That pot used to hold either a tomatillo or a cherry tomato, but the seed leaves don't look quite right for either. (Looks more like a brassica??? Too dark for photos now but I'll try to get one soon. It's probably doomed, but nice to my SFGs fighting back.) My SESE potato onions and garlic are still in their packages waiting for Thanksgiving per the planting instructions.

My one lonely cabbage plant survived the garden tear-out (I tried to disguise it by planting some storebought ornamental kales next to it!) but seems to be just sitting there. It has a tiny head about as big as a ping pong ball, with much bigger leaves. They weren't kidding when they named it "Late" cabbage! I have never grown cabbage before so I don't know if it's a lost cause.

My yellow "wild" strawberries are finally bearing. Hard to imagine such a huge plant came from a microscopic sprout like it started out as. (And I'm not sure why I'm so amazed at that, considering one innocent little Rampicante seed produced such a monster! but I am.) The berries are smallish and sort of cone shaped -- longer than they are wide -- and slightly tart. I love them, and so does something else; I've been fighting to get my share. The red strawberries seem to be shutting down but the yellow ones are merrily blossoming away. I hate to pull them out of the strawberry jar to plant them in the garden for the winter while they are doing that, but maybe the next few weeks will convince them to take a winter's nap, too.

The side beds are still doing well. My hydrangea's foliage has finally turned rust-colored like it always does this time of year -- pretty soon the stems will, too. I am amazed my chives are still alive in their container. Usually they die back in late summer but this year I put a bubbler head in the container and that apparently was all it needed. The other herbs seem happy. I seem to have finally found a rosemary that can survive winters outdoors here, too... wish I had made a note of the variety! My 'Brandy' rose is blooming for the 2nd (3rd?) time... silly thing. And the lantana and verbena, new to the garden this year, are still doing well. I think those are both annuals but I'm hoping they might overwinter for me; bees love them both.

Mostly what I've been doing this month is more canning. My first batch of tomatillo salsa went well, and I'm going to do another batch tomorrow. I appear to have an aversion to peeling tomatoes. Sorta silly, blanching them is not hard at all once you get started... just have to get myself started. I bought a whole bunch of them at the farmers market and processing those will be one of my projects for the next couple days.

I've got a 4-day weekend starting tomorrow (yay!!!!) and one of the things I hope to do is some initial ground clearing in the backyard for next year. It's a real mess back there and I want to get the worst of it cleared away before snow hits. Ideally it would be nice to get boxes built now, but something tells me that is not going to happen. (Unless maybe our local Lowes has some of those Suncoast boxes left that Dunkinjean recently posted about.)

I want to try to plant a few things in the front in the next couple days and see if I can get a crop of cold weather lettuce going in time to get a few greens, maybe some radishes. I completely missed the bus on fall gardening.

That is my personal update. I hope to add photos and some regional information in the next few days. Please let us know how your garden is going and any thoughts you may have for the coming year. Anyone going to try 4-year gardening or greenhouse'ing (is that a verb?)? Do you have any yearly gardening routines you follow as winter sets in? And remember... we love pictures!

Happy Gardening! flower
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Megan

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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Mikesgardn on 11/4/2010, 9:11 am

I experimented with fall gardening this year for the first time. My summer garden goes into shade by the end of August, so I planted some lettuce and spinach in containers that I moved to a sunnier area. Being in central Maryland, I was supposed to plant the seeds outside by the end of August/early September. Unfortunately, we were still in the throes of one of the hottest summers ever, so I was not able to keep my seeds moist while at work, and they didn't sprout. I waited until the weather cooled a bit in September and replanted. They sprouted fine, and I harvested some yesterday. They even withstood a couple of light frosts this week. It will be interesting to see how long they last.
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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Megan on 11/4/2010, 2:27 pm

Sounds great, Mike, good luck with the frost! Did you have any trouble with flea beetles? I haven't seen any in quite a while, but figured maybe it's because my brassicas are long gone.

I had ordered some lettuce for my fall garden called Merveille des Quatre Saisons. Wonder just how serious they are about the "Quatre Saisons" part??? :scratch:
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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Mikesgardn on 11/4/2010, 3:27 pm

No, my small fall garden hasn't had any pests. That has been a nice change from the summer (cabbage worms, stink bugs).
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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Megan on 11/11/2010, 6:52 pm

Well, I was all set (and excited) to scrounge materials to build boxes in my backyard in the next few weeks... and Life threw us a curve ball. In the form of my car throwing a rod at 60 mph. No one was hurt, Thank Goodness, but car is kaput. So boxes, MM, and other expenditures are on hold until we figure out what to do. Evil or Very Mad Fortunately dh has a motorcycle so we are still each have a vehicle, but I don't like him riding in winter when there's black ice around.

One little smile: When I had to tear out my garden for the HOA, a bunch of things (the rampicante vines, one of my high-rise boxes, a pepper cage, some pots I had the dill in, etc.) went into the back of our truck. I forgot about it, and hubby never touched it.... so yesterday when I was removing some of the things from the car with a view to putting them in the pickup bed... there was the rampicante, staring at me again. All dried out and a little moldy, but still a huge mass. (It has been disposed of.) Also, in one of the pots, I found a small but healthy dill plant about 6" tall. It must have germinated from seed dropped when I picked the dill a few months back. Very Happy
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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/11/2010, 7:14 pm

So glad you are OK. Bummer, car problems are the pitts. I agree about motorcycles and black ice, they definitely do not mix. Hope arrangements can be made to keep that out of the equation.

Smile How bittersweet to find rampicant in the bed of the truck. Gone but not forgotten.

Do you think you can repot the little dill? Is it possible to bring it indoors and maybe keep it trimmed so it won't take over the house?

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Re: Mid-Atlantic November update

Post  Megan on 11/11/2010, 7:40 pm

Thanks. Not sure about the dill... it's already in a pot. The big issue will be enough sunlight, and keeping the cats away. How can I deny such a stubborn plant, though???

Then there's also the THING growing in the egyptian onions. It looks like a veggie, but it's just sitting there with a pair of seed-leaves....
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