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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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