Some odds and ends that I have in my pile of notes for you this month…
This is the year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. What an event! But even better, this is the year I actually picked my last vine-ripened tomato on Nov. 1.
I can’t believe it. And best of all, it doesn’t appear to be one of those late season tomatoes with a skin like shoe leather. It seems all perky, fresh and tender. What a treat. I still have some green tomatoes on the vines, and as much as I like fried green tomatoes, I think I will forego that pleasure since I am trying to cut back on fried things.
And speaking of late ripening things, we made moussaka last night with my fresh-off-the-vine-in- November eggplants. I am usually done with getting eggplants by late September, but this single plant just kept on producing flowers and fruit all through September and October. And I may still get a few more ripe eggplants later this month.
As we head into the winter months, it is a good idea to do some planting for next year. Now is the time to plant flowering bulbs such as crocus, daffodils, tulips and other favorites. It is a good idea to put a small spoonful of fertilizer in the hole with each bulb.
It is also a good time to plant trees and shrubs. They will not do much growing over the winter months, but they will get started on developing good root systems so that they can green out and bloom next year. Water these in thoroughly to help them get started in our on-going drought.
November is also the time to clean out your garden areas. Remove downed leaves and general debris. Clip back dead stems. If you have been having any trouble with plant diseases be sure to throw the leaves and debris away so that any micro-biotic traces do not infect your compost pile.
And this just in from Scientific American magazine, some spinach plants are now being engineered to indicate the presence of explosives in the ground where they are growing. This is of particular interest to the military and to those who do mine clearing in the all-too-many war torn areas of the world.
According to the article, the plants have chemical reactors inserted into their leaves. As the plants soak up water and nutrients from the soil, trace elements of explosives in landmines, artillery shells and buried ammunition are absorbed in the spinach leaves and react with the chemical indicators.
The plants will quickly wilt if they are drawing up water that contains trace elements of explosives. I am not sure that this development will have much impact on our suburban gardens.
Perhaps someday they will have plants that indicate the presence of kudzu, privet and English ivy seeds in our garden soil.
Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 35 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive. He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group. He can be reached at email@example.com.