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November Garden – Extending the Season – Peppers –Tomatoes – Eggplant and other notes

Those peppers that only grew 6 inches and stayed 6 inches until about mid-July ended up growing 5 to 6 feet tall and producing lots and lots of peppers. Finally by September, I was getting beautiful and delicious red peppers. I rationed us to two a day, but we’ve eaten 2 everyday for more than 60 days. And they’re still coming. (I use several green peppers each day from my California Wonder plants and let the Italian peppers turn red.)

If I can get my peppers through the first frost or two, we should have some more nice weather before the real cold sets in and I can increase my pepper harvest by well over a 150 peppers. They won’t all be at the stage of turning red unfortunately, but the green ones that I freeze will be great for stir fries in the dead winter.

An eggplant, that was the worse looking plant in the garden, didn’t even have a blossom until the end of August. I just picked a large eggplant (one of 5) from it today for dinner tonight.

Wrap or Cover for Protection

I’ve spent a few minutes of the last few days covering my peppers and eggplants with row cover fabric in preparation of the frost that is forecast for Sunday night. And I still have 3 more peppers to cover as I write this.

It’s far from a perfect job.  I try to secure the fabric with clothespins.  So far, they’ve held even with the 30 miles an hour gusts. If gusts get more severe they may not.

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Approaching my garden  entrance.  Shows the lower end of the garden. The cherry tomato plant, against the garden gate, doesn’t seem to know it’s turning cold. Nov.1

Making Do

If you don’t have row cover fabric you could use a light comforter, bedsheets, blankets, or a tarp. Just remove them in the morning. (Once I cover plants with row cover fabric, I leave them covered unless it turns really hot.)

You mainly want to cover the leaves and fruit. Frost won’t kill the main stem, but will kill the leaves.  Also, temperatures 32 degrees F and below effect the quality of the fruit. Even if they don’t wilt and get soft, they still may not store as long as usual.

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This path is directly in front of me as I enter the gate.  Small patch of peas is blooming to the left of the path.  Peppers are covered  Eggplant is covered  (top middle).  Tomatoes are looking shabby. Nov. 1

Temperatures Often Fall Below What is Forecast

Although the forecast only calls for a low of 37 degrees, the temperatures can sometimes fall lower. And although I’ve seen peppers survive a light frost, it’s chancy. I don’t think the eggplant would survive without some type of protection. Sometimes tomatoes do and sometimes they don’t.

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Left to Right: Alfalfa, tomatoes, lettuce, pepper covered, beans (two rows), ginger (next to pepper), peas, pepper covered, alfalfa, radishes, volunteer borage, limas, fig bush (outside garden). (Photo shows the top end of the garden.) Nov.1

Cold Tolerance Can Depend on Conditions

My gut feeling tells me I probably don’t have to worry about loosing the peppers this week for various reasons.

  • It’s been cold. Thus, the peppers will be able to stand more cold because they are already preconditioned. If this were an extreme and sudden drop in temperature, the peppers would be affected more easily.
  • The soil is moist. Plants are more affected by the cold when the soil has been dry and plants are dried out.
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More peppers covered.  Small patch of peas at the top end of the garden. They can take the frost. Nov. 1

Tomatoes

I didn’t cover my tomatoes this year, but I think most will make it through tonight.

I already have about 150 (fresh ones – red, pink, and/or green) in my unheated enclosed porch. I’ll harvest several times before the next  frost is forecast, IF the fruit is not damaged by the frost tonight. Sometimes tomatoes look ok after a frost and you don’t know they’re bad until you get them inside and they turn soft and rot.

Notes on Other Crops in my November Garden

  • I ‘m hoping that my snap beans will make it through and give me another week or so of beans.
  • May get a handful more of lima beans, but they’re about done.
  • Radishes are still delicious.  Lettuce is abundant. Mache and cresses are coming up almost everywhere.
  • If the weather holds, I may get a fair crop of peas.
  • The Alpine strawberries that I raised from seed this spring are giving me lots of nice little strawberries.
  • Beets and carrots are few, but look good.
  • Can hardly wait to harvest my first ginger! (My friend and reader, Jack in New Jersey, inspired me to grow it.)
  • Still have a few potatoes stored in the ground.
  • Parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sorrel is still lush and delicious.
  • I’ll pick the last of the baby yellow squash today.

The Next Step

In the coming weeks I’ll be putting up the tunnels for my cool weather crops and getting ready for winter.

Final Thoughts

Hope you are still harvesting and planning to harvest cool weather greens throughout the winter and into spring.

Let me know how you’re doing.

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8 comments to November Garden – Extending the Season – Peppers –Tomatoes – Eggplant and other notes

  • My garden this year did great. I did not cover anything up last night in the forecasted hard freeze, because frankly I have plenty and am tired of dealing with the veggies (can’t believe I said that!) There were some bombs and some things I’ve learned to do different next year: Peppers, eggplants and watermelon interplanted with cowpeas does not work. The cowpeas grow like crazy and crowd out the other plants that are slower growing in the beginning of the year. They don’t get enough sun. Next year I will plant peppers and eggplants away form the cowpeas and much later–about the time I plant sweet potatoes. And watermelon are a luxury I just may not have room for–I’ll leave those to my brother to grow!
    One thing I do make room for is seminole pumpkins. They do great in my area but do run and cover a large area–usually taking over by the time most other things are harvested. I harvested 100 to 200 of them. I will use them for soup, squash dishes, pumpkin pie, and to feed to the goats–they love them. They’re about double the size of a softball or so and will keep for a year at room temperature. Have you ever grown them?

  • Theresa

    I enjoyed your great report Betty!
    I don’t have a lot of room for “sprawlers”. So no, I have never grown seminole pumpkins. But you sure make them sound tempting.

    I usually give my hot weather crops like tomatoes, cukes, peppers, and eggplants time to get started well before I underplant a cover crop. And yes, cowpeas would not be one of the best to use unless you are prepared to keep them cut back a bit when they get unruly.

    You may have noticed in various pictures in recent posts that I have some annuals next to peppers and tomatoes used as cover crops that are about 3 feet tall. The peppers and tomatoes were well established before the cover crop annuals even got started. Planned this way, I have cover for my soil, a certain degree of protection for the food crops, diversity, and more biomass to use as mulch and nutrients when it’s all cut down.

    By the way, do you usually have squash bugs on the seminole pumpkins? You make them sound tempting, but I already have to check for squash bugs on winter squash and summer squash and sometimes cukes. So that may be a deciding factor as to whether or not I try to make room for them. When you have a minute, let me know.

    Thanks Betty.
    Theresa

  • Sandra

    Theresa, It looks as though you decorated your garden for Halloween! I dug under a bunch of green peppers that I just couldn’t use. It didn’t rain for a while. A couple of days ago, I was digging in that spot and lo and behold I uncovered the green peppers, now nicely red and in perfect condition. I did not eat them, but I suppose it was like a natural root cellar. The plants that I have are still loaded with ripening peppers and I still have some tomatoes that want to keep going. Meanwhile the greens are just beautiful. I agree, that it has been a great year (well they all are in different ways) but I sure wish I had my tunnels in place – I hear there will be a freeze tonight. I suppose I’ll be out with my bedsheets frantic at the last minute.

  • Theresa

    What a great story Sandra! I would have had to salvage those red peppers. I just could not have resisted!
    The wind has wreaked havoc with my eggplant and is trying to with the peppers. I may lose some peppers, but I’ll know tomorrow.
    I’ll be thinking of you with out there with your bedsheets! 🙂
    Theresa

  • Toni Brock

    What a beautiful garden you have Theresa! Even in November!
    I am still getting pumpkins, peppers, a few tomatoes. My carrots and lettuce are doing good but I sure didn’t plant enough. I dug up a cherry tomato and potted it for the green house just as an experiment to see if it will produce earlier next season. May be a waste of time, we will see.
    I was wondering if you would allow me to take some of your timely garden chore pointers and form a garden chore list? I am so very bad at remembering things unless I have it spelled out right in front of me.

  • Theresa

    If you want to make your list from what I do Toni, go right ahead. I’d love to see what you come up with after you finish.
    Your experiment with the tomato sounds interesting.
    Sounds like your garden is still doing great!
    Theresa

  • Theresa, I just saw this post and the great thing about the seminole pumpkins is that they are resistant to wilt and I rarely see a squash bug! I have tried to grow other types of pumpkins and butternut squash and do have problems with those other varieties. They take a long time to mature but your climate zone is similar to mine I think?

  • Theresa

    What great news Betty! Believe me, if these little pumpkins don’t have squash bugs (or only a few), they will be regulars in my garden from now on!! Thanks for giving me the benefit of your experience!
    Theresa

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