Back to Back Issues Page
Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #352 - The frost arrived and did things to the Dahlias and Brussels Spro
November 07, 2019

It has been a strange week. These gorgeous Dahlias and that basket of Tomatoes and peppers were picked on the first of November. I can’t recall ever being frost free that late in the season. Maybe a small upside for global warming to balance all of the bad things happening. The Dahlias have been producing a steady supply of amazing blooms for at least two months now, as we wait for that killing frost. I keep picking any Tomato that has the least bit of colour and bringing it inside to ripen. Eating fresh Tomatoes in late October is a real treat. The Peppers are not ripening well but we like green Peppers just much. The Cayennes have been ripening and then brought indoors to process. The Mad Hatter Peppers have been amazingly productive and I have a bag full of them in the fridge that we can keep using after the frost finally arrives.

Three days later when I looked out at the garden I saw these very sad Tomato plants and same very black looking Dahlia plants. I set about digging up the Dahlia tubers and bringing them into the solarium to try and dry the soil so that it could be more easily removed. The Assistant Gardener has been thoroughly enjoying the huge Dahlia blooms but seems less excited about the large clumps of soil that the Dahlia tubers have brought into the house. A few days in the warmth will dry the soil and then they can be shaken clean, outside of course, and then packed away in some shredded paper and stored in the cool basement.

One day after the first frost we woke up to a few cms of nice wet snow. When the A.G. inquired about the snow shovel, I explained that I had to shovel the snow away from the garage door to get to that snow shovel. I was thinking about a picture to show the early snow when I was driving up a local country road and saw this huge flock of Canada Geese digging through all that snow looking for the soy beans that had been missed by last week’s harvest. That looks like a tough way to find your dinner but it did make an interesting picture.

That frost is not all bad of course. Now the Brussels Sprouts will start to sweeten up. They are much more delicious after a frost or two and we seem to have a good sized crop this year. We will pick them slowly over the next few weeks and boil them and maybe add some cheese sauce or put them in the oven with some oil and maple syrup and caramelize them. When they are frost sweetened they are good just steamed with some melted butter. Some will stay in the garden for our annual foray out there on Christmas day to pick the last of them for Christmas dinner. A strange but delicious family tradition. There is also a nice crop of Leeks still in the garden waiting for the frosts to sweeten them. The Tomatoes have given way to the Sprouts as the vegetable of choice.

This is a picture of a half empty pond. Another problem that occurs every autumn and it occurs more than once. The falling leaves from the huge Walnut tree, that shades the ponds, accumulate in the rivers and block them up resulting in the water being misdirected and the ponds rather quickly becoming depleted. It’s not a big job to go out and clean the rivers but that water is very refreshing and my hands don’t want to spend much time in it gathering a sodden mass of leaves. If I could just get that Walnut to drop all of its leaves at once then the river cleaning wouldn’t have to be repeated several times. Mother Nature and her little bits of fun with me never seem to end.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Joan Asks? In regard to raking the leaves into the garden bed, do they go into the garden beds as whole leaf. I believe I have heard that they should be mulched before going into the garden beds; that they can smother plants coming up in the Spring. Could you clarify that for me?

Ken Answers! I do like to mulch mine as some of them are quite persistent and even the Tulips have some trouble getting through whole leaves.

Some interesting news from Julie. Hi Ken, great to hear your news again. I used the nematode sprays both spring and fall and my Japanese beetles were few and far between this year - it was great! Our local garden centre told me that there may be a granular version of the nematodes in the spring - will have to explore but the spray did the job anyway.

Back to Back Issues Page