It’s November, but re­mem­ber to keep wa­ter­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - Bob Bey­fuss Gar­den Tips

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 mullen.jim@gmail.com.

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