Beans Garden greens mulching (mentioned) onions (mentioned) row covers tomoatoes mentioned Voles, Moles, Mice & Shrews

Garden Observations – November – Care to Compare?

As I learn that various readers have snow covering their gardens already, I’m even more appreciative of living in Virginia and being able to have more time in the garden in the fall.


My pepper plants are heavy with peppers waiting to turn red.  Last year this time I had many more red ones.  I attribute this not only to a cold spring (which made for a late start) — but also to not having the varieties that seem to give me more red peppers. (Somehow – I messed up with that!)

I don’t know what the coming spring will bring, but I’ve thought about using wall-of-waters to give some of 2013’s pepper plants an earlier start.  It’s been 20 years or more since I used them on tomatoes, but they do make a difference.

Ace and Lipstick peppers were a disappointment this year.  Both are noted for turning red early —- which they did.  But —the later half of the season they just didn’t want to turn red and stopped producing in abundance. Had them in the border rather than the garden — so can’t be sure if it was the peppers or the place.

California Wonder (an heirloom) is the greatest bell pepper I’ve ever grown and I wouldn’t think of being without it ever again.  The fruit is huge, thick walled, and has a great flavor .  If your season is long enough for it to turn red you’ll be even more pleased with it.

Butter Beans (Limas)

My first two plantings of butter beans never germinated and my third planting was late — but I did get a few butterbeans.  Absolutely delicious!  I’m planning more room in the early garden for them next year.

Snap Beans

Masai snaps beans were fabulous and produced even a bit after the first frost.


All the tomato plants are up and out of the garden, but I have hundreds of fresh tomatoes.  I’m still making roasted tomato sauce and should have fresh tomatoes through December.

Onions, Garlic, Bunching onions, Multipliers

Still have fresh onions.  A few of the sweet reds remain.  I have especially enjoyed the Cippolini onions which are uniquely beautiful, great keepers, and delicious. And of course, I save the long-keeping Copras to use last.

In the garden the softneck garlic is up about 6 inches and the hardneck about 2 inches.
Bunching onions that I planted are still small.
Multipliers planted only recently are breaking the soil.


Finished up the potatoes last week.  We had potatoes for 7 months — so I shouldn’t complain…. but I will sure miss them.

Rainbow Chard

I have a nice little spot in the lower corner of the garden that gets shade in the afternoon.  I usually save it for lettuce and greens.  The Rainbow Chard I planted there last spring looks great —  still.  Other Rainbow Chard — planted in hotter, drier spots was eaten up by the Harlequin bug (I think).

Anyway – I just picked it the other day for dinner.  It was without a doubt some of the best and most beautiful we’ve had.  Evidently it’s like spinach and gets better and sweeter with the cold.

Russian Kale

I’m congratulating myself for laying the Russian kale plants that were heavy with seed in June  in a certain spot between rows that is not disturbed. It germinated in October and is doing quite well — while the Russian kale I seeded in pots and transplanted this fall did nothing.

Hoop Tunnels

Hoop tunnels are in place.  Plastic is secured on them, but not as well as it will have to be in a snow storm.  Late seedlings are finally showing growth under there.  The plants that were already well established by October are looking lush and large.


Shrews came up in one of the hoop houses and messed up a square foot spot of seedlings with their entrance holes.  I’ve trapped 3 and hopefully I’ll get them all so that my lettuce can continue to grow and thrive. In general shrews eat bad bugs and are pretty good in the garden unless they mess up something like this planting of lettuce by coming up under it.

Voles do a lot more damage to plants. Fortunately they haven’t been too bad this year.  I need to start trapping them on the far side of the garden where they attacked a large section of my potatoes.

Leaves and Pine Needles

Bill was able to get quite a bit of pine needles this year. So in addition to mulching my blueberries heavily with pine, I have more to use in other places.

All the leaves that have fallen are in the garden on the beds.

Final Thought

Before we turn around it’ll be time for winter sown planting.  I can hardly wait.

Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Theresa,

    I absolutely LOVE limas! I can make a meal out of a big bowl of lima beans.

    Can you share the variety of limas you grow.

    When I used to buy them from the store I usually bought Ford Hook.

    Do you have a better variety?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share the wealth of information you’ve learned about gardening with us.

    I sure wish I had been smart enough to ask Daddy more gardening questions when he was alive, even though he knew very little about organic gardening.


  • I grow Henderson’s Bush Lima Beans. They are small and out of this world delicious!

  • Thanks Theresa,

    I’ll add those to my list for 2014.

    With our son leaving for college this fall we won’t be running to daily practices & track meets twice a week. There will be more time to spend in the garden.

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