It’s November, but remember to keep watering
The leaves are pretty much gone now, except for some oaks and beech, as well as a few yellow aspen, but the grass is still green and there are a few hardy annual flowers still in bloom as we enter the middle of November.
The reason the grass is still green is because the soil is really not all that cold right now, compared to the air temperatures we have had most mornings. The roots of many plants are still actively growing and they will continue to grow until the middle of December, provided they have enough moisture.
November is generally the month when we have the fewest sunny days. It is also the month that has the highest-reported deer/ car collisions. Be especially careful driving after dark, as the deer become almost completely nocturnal.
The drought we have experienced since early summer is still a serious concern as the dry weather continues. It is very important to continue to water any trees and shrubs that were planted this past season, as well as those planted two seasons ago. The main reason why many trees and shrubs fail to survive any winter is often due to lack of water the previous fall. I have been applying 5 gallons of
water a week to my newly planted peach tree.
It is time to clean up the vegetable garden and harvest the last few remaining vegetables. I still have a few leeks in the ground, but the rest of this summer’s produce is history and it is time to reflect on what grew well and what did not. At the top of the list of what grew well, my favorite tomato “Big Beef” once more outshined its competition. Since I don’t water the vegetable garden, it is
understandable that the tomatoes were about half the size of what they usually are, but they still outperform any other tomato I have ever grown. My favorite cherry tomato, “Sun Gold” also did extremely well.
My favorite, non-bleeding, beet varieties “Chioggia” and “Burpee’s Golden Beet” also did well, as did the more traditional “Detroit Dark Red.” I had to plant potatoes three times before they finally took and the “German Fingerling” variety, as well as a pink-fleshed heirloom, produced lots of pretty tiny potatoes. I tried to grow snow peas in the same location as last year, but an early rabbit raid destroyed them before they even got growing.
The “Marketmore” cu-
cumbers made about 20 pints of pickles that will be enjoyed by my family this winter. Most bush bean varieties are pretty much foolproof; I still prefer the purple-podded varieties, since they are easy to see and pick. My standard garlic crop varieties “German Red” and “German White,” as well as the “Elephant” garlic produced bumper crops that
I have replanted for next season. Garlic is one of the few crops that can be successfully saved and used to produce a second season crop most years.
As usual, my asparagus “Jersey Giant” did very well and supplied me with far more than I could eat fresh or even give away. I have a half dozen pints of asparagus soup that will also be enjoyed this winter. Most of my window box herbs are still alive surprisingly. I just picked some fresh parsley and rosemary and the thyme is
also still alive. My friend Lester brought his basil window box indoors weeks ago and it still looks really great. Sadly, the tomatoes I picked green several weeks ago don’t have much flavor after ripening indoors.
This is my last week living in New York for about five months. I call myself a “snowbird” as I migrate to Florida, but my neighbor Werner calls me a “snow chicken.”
Contact Jim Mullen at email@example.com.