Sunday, September 23, 2012

What to do when frost is forecasted

Sunday, September 23, 2012

With frost in the air, summer loving veggies are coming to the end of their season.  Veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, basil, and peppers do not like cold weather.

Basil turns black when bitten with the first frost.  I harvested all remaining basil today.  Had about 12 cups or so of leaves.  I added about a cup of olive oil in the food processor.  Once combined, I put in a freezer bag.  Now, I can just break off a piece anytime I want fresh basil flavor in a recipe.

Our zucchini has given up.  We keep getting male flowers but no females so no fruits in the last 3 weeks.

Still have cucumbers coming slowly.

The peppers are still going strong.  They handle cooler weather better than basil.  I’ll wait until it is going to get down to 32 before I strip off all the peppers still on the plant.

I use the same approach for tomatoes.  When it is going to get down to 32, I’ll take off all tomatoes left on the vine.  The best way to get them to ripen is to wrap each individually in newspaper and store in a dark location.  They will slowly ripen.  Won’t be as tasty as off the vine, but better than what you can get in the store.

Now is also a great time to divide any perennials you have, whether they be herbs, edibles or ornamentals.  This will give them all fall and winter to put down strong roots.  Perennial greens are always the first up in the spring.

It is still not too late to transplant fall crops like cold hardy types of lettuce, cabbage, chard, pak choi, broccoli, kale, parsley or perennial herbs.  I found 6 and 9 packs at Home Depot and Lowes.

Now is the time to order your mini greenhouse to extend the season.  I’ll put mine out over the greens in my Earthboxes sometime next month.

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