Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four gardening wishes

Frozen pumpkinsHere are four things that I wish I had done earlier in the fall when I should have but was actually either too lazy (due to bad, cold, rainy or snowy weather) or my back was out. I'm trying not to kick myself too much, but I have these constant reminders every time I look out the window.

1. Take my pumpkins in and process them. I figured I'd have a heck of a lot more time to bring them inside before it got too cold out. Of course, I could do it now, although all 5 of them are frozen solid. Does anyone know if, when they thaw, they'll still be edible or can be processed?

2. Plant my garlic. I am sooo pissed off about this one. I could have planted it in early October, but I wanted to wait until closer to November. By the time November rolled around the weather on the days I had time to plant was pouring rain. On the days when it was nice out, my back was seizing up on me. No problem I thought. It's warm late this year. I can probably push it to early or mid-December. Well, it's been frozen and/or snowing and I can't exactly plant it with a foot of snow on the ground.

3. Plant my wine grapes. Man, I was being dumb about this. I kept thinking I needed to really prepare the area I wanted to plant this in and, because of time constraints, never got around to doing it. Is it too late to transfer them to the ground once the snow melts?

4. Move my lemon tree inside. Again, it's the back thing. I wanted to wait until after Christmas because, surely, we hadn't even had our first frost where I live until early December! Now that sad little lemon tree is covered in snow, cursing me for not living in Florida and for having no immediate hopes of hanging out with the Christmas tree.

What fall/winter planning items did you hope to get done, but didn't get around to doing this year? If you could go back and do something sooner, what would it have been?


Moonwaves said...

I'm living with the frustration of an apartment with no balcony at the moment and still trying to convince myself I'll save enough to get an allotment in spring. Of the four plants I managed to persuade the movers to take, the oregano has died completely, the lavender is not looking good but at least the rosemary is hanging on despite it's main stem being split down the middle.

Just wondering if you could plant the garlic in pots now and just leave them outside until the ground is workable again and then pot them out into the soil. They might not like it but it might be worth trying at least a few as an experiment.

Anonymous said...

Poor lemon tree. All of our citrus have rabar cages for easy covering (sometimes with heat lamps) or wheels for easy moving .

I wish we would have planted garlic as well. But our first year garden was fairly successful, so I'm trying not to kick myself.

***Don't forget that if you plant your tomatoes from seeds, it's almost time to get those started indoors.

Lisa Zahn said...

I also have frozen pumpkins in the back yard, but I just gave up on them and consider them compost. And, I didn't get the garlic planted either, which I'm also angry about. So I can sympathize, but offer no help.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Last year I didn't get to plant my tulip bulbs until January. I was so worried (and the ground was hard to dig!) but they came up fine. This year, I got my daffodil bulbs in the ground in October.

Sue said...

You can still use the pumpkin, but you'll want to process it immediately as it thaws. All the burst cell walls mean mushiness and quick rotting. Not a problem if you puree it the day you bring it in.

Poor lemon tree!

We also neglected the plant our garlic. So we're slowly eating through our seed garlic, like the sad little grasshoppers we are. :-(

e4 said...

I wish I had gotten my service berry trees planted before the ground froze. I also wish I had planted some wheat and oats, to see how hard it is.

Maybe next year...

Anonymous said...

I just brought in a frozen pumpkin two days ago.
I let it thaw for an hour or so (just enough so I could cut it in half)then put both halves on a cookie sheet and popped them in the oven to be roasted. Turned out fine.

Lynnet said...

I also didn't get my garlic planted, darn it! What's worse, I was going to plant them in the rows where I took the potatoes out. And that is what didn't happen. I dug one and a half (short) rows out of the five I planted, got sore muscles, and didn't go back for a week.

By then it snowed, and snowed again, then got bitterly cold, freezing the ground. Poor potatoes are still in the ground. Poor garlic is still next to the front door. Maybe I should try putting it into pots in a cold room.

I DID get my lemon tree inside. Not an option in northern Colorado, where we got down to 11 below zero recently. It doesn't like the transition, promptly losing most leaves due to the lowered light, but it will hang on until spring, whew, when it gets outside again.

Christy said...

We didn't move here until mid-November and had to spend 2 weeks getting the inside of the house livable, so most of my gardening plans didn't happen. The previous owners hadn't cleared the garden before they left, so I couldn't plant anything until it got cleared. It is mostly cleared now, but I think too late to plant the cover crop I wanted to plant. I did however get some garlic in!

Cave-Woman said...

I wish I had put my garden in a different location. I chose a spot that I thought got a good deal of light. And it did. In the winter. Then the sweetgum tree greened up and all I could grow was basil and a few cherry tomatoes.

Another problem with that spot was that no one has ever tried to really grow ANYTHING there except grass. As a result, I had very few pollinators come to visit me.
Even when my squash did come didn't do more than blossom.
So this year...

I will plant a low-light native plant pollinator garden where my "veggie" garden was. Hopefully that will give my plants a little hot pollination action...

I will move my veggie bed to the side of the house that gets LOTS of light in the summer...and will try, try, try to grow something other than tomatoes and basil.

Greenpa said...

lol. You've discovered why real farmers NEVER work according to weather forecasts. They work according to the calendar. I had to learn that the hard way too.

About your grapes- the question is, is the ground frozen, and/or will the ground freeze in January?

If the ground stays above freezing, that will let the roots grow a bit, and transport water; so planting now MIGHT work. Give your local extension agent a call, and ask their opinion.

Green Bean said...

I don't haev any answers but if you find someone to process your pumpkins for you, can you send them over here when you're done? My garage and front porch look like it's still Halloween.

Abi said...

I had several pumpkins freeze solid; I quartered them, scooped them, and baked them. Then I scooped the flesh into strainers to drain, then froze.

I did use one right away for pie, and it was the best pie I have ever made.


Kristi said...

I wish I had:

Cut bay leaves for all my friends, because the trees have probably frozen to the ground, if not died.

Brought in a bunch of carrots, parsnips, turnips - I leave them in-ground for the winter, but can't get any out right now.

Cut back my rosemary so I had some to use - again, it will not survive the 1F temps we had.

And brought in my cabbages. It just doesn't normally get this cold!

You can still plant the garlic in January. The heads won't be as big, but you'll still get heads.

Anonymous said...

I still need to figure out where I want to plant blueberries and start altering the soil. But I'm in the South, so I don't think weather will be a problem. I had just intended to plant the blueberries in the fall rather than the spring.

I recently came across an article about lemon trees indoors and I've been meaning to research that a little -- how big do they get?! Have you posted about this before?

Sharlene said...

I just wish I had a place to put a garden. Stupid concrete jungle I live in.... Weather is not a concern where i live so I hope to do some container gardening this year.

Robj98168 said...

I feel your pain! I didn't get the ladt two pumpkins in- I was waiting for them to ripen and somehow this damn snow got all over them. And i needed ro rake in my worm bin- now has 9 inches on the top- I am sure the worms are frozen stiff. Damn. Mass Wormicide!

Robj98168 said...

Crunchy you could try growing your garlic in an earthtainer, which is a fancy homemade self watering planter,i have the instructions here, and there is a picture of one I made with garlic scapes popping through the ground!

TDP said...

I was able to plant some garlic in some pots in late September. They got scapes, then the scapes died off. Does this mean that there is no growth underneath? I decided to wait until Late spring to dig into the pot to find out! lol

The carrots in the window box are slow growing. With our southwestern cool temps it will probably be March before there are any carrots to pull up.

Sounds like you need a circle of gardening buddies, Crunchy. Gather a bunch of like-minded people from the same area of town and rotate through each other's gardens to do all the work that needs to be done, especially if backs go out or kids get sick, etc. We had a women's cleaning circle for a while back in Wisconsin. We'd all gather at one house, tackle a room top to bottom, then sit down and have coffee and play cards. Many hands make quick work of a task. : )

Jennie said...

Plant your garlic in the early spring! I know gardeners who swear by it.
As soon as the the ground is even remotely workable in the spring, pop them in and remember to put some mulch on them for the inevitable last couple of freezes and they'll come up just fine!

Your pumpkins are fine too, just process them IMMEDIATELY after bringing them in because all their cells are burst.

As for my not done list, mainly just a bunch of tilling that didn't get done because of the baby bump. :-P

Anonymous said...

- Didn't get the new front (perennial) garden mulched after the last leaves fell.

- didn't pull the leaves out of the *street* to mulch the new front garden. Kicking myself for this one! All that free mulch/proto-compost -- swept up by the street cleaners! The horror!

- Didn't get the new clothesline poles put in. (Who am I kidding? Didn't even PURCHASE the durn things, and when asked, the husband admitted that they weren't likely to go in until spring anyway.)

- didn't attempt to process the big batch of carrots we got until WAY too late -- they'd gone bad in the fridge. :(

I look at this all as a "live and learn" experience, like not knowing that tomatoes will seed themselves if allowed to. ;) I just have my fingers crossed that the several inches of snow we have will be enough to insulate the new perennials I put in really, really late this year....

Alison Kerr said...

Darn, you just reminded me of the things I did not do:

1) Take in the lettuce that was still good under the protective blanket. I could have refrigerated it. It was good until the snow hit.

2) Bring in the greens from under the blanket. I could have chopped them and frozen to use for soup or stew.

3) Planted the spring bulbs that I've been keeping for longer than I care to say! So far they've been fine in plastic bags in my freezer (it's not a self-defrosting freezer so things don't dry out). However it would be nice to see them. Maybe I should try them in pots.

4) Plant wild onions I picked up this spring from a ploughed field that we were replanting to prairie.

Sure, I did not do everything I could have, but every year I seem to improve. Relax, just plan to do better next year :-)

Gretchen said...

Crunchy, I know this is easier said than done, but try not to get too mad at yourself. You already do SO much, that if you'd done those things too, you'd be kicking yourself for something else you hadn't done. Or something you wish you'd done. Please, don't wish your happiness away. Be thankful for all that you DO do. I really enjoy all the info you send our way.

Best wishes. Merry,Blessed Christmas to you.

Anonymous said...

Your pumpkins will be fine if you cook them up right now. Don't even let them thaw out because if they froze really badly they'll start to decay as soon as they thaw. Wash 'em off and pop then into the oven, whole, and bake until the skin starts to darken and juice is dripping out. Cut them in half, scoop out the guts, and then puree the pumpkin and freeze it again.

Jenn said...

I have to yank up tomato plants that aren't going to really make it despite their best intentions to produce through the winter... I have a ton of Blondkopfchen tomatoes to harvest from a plant - skins are a bit tougher but they are good to sear in a pan and toss with pasta.

I want to plant some garlic I got from an uncle - and make a potato condo. Weather is less of a factor than the complete LACK OF SUNLIGHT AFTER WORK! AAAAARRRGH! Why does it have to be so dark all the time. :(