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Still Hanging On

November 18th, 2011

Amazingly, I still have a few things hanging on long after they should be gone. We’ve had frost and temperatures in the high 20’s, but somehow a castor bean that’s still gracing the garden with it’s beautiful tropical looking foliage.

I thought the mustard should have been nipped already, but it’s actually just starting to bloom. I’m glad it’s hung on this long as this is the perfect time to get a cold snap to kill it since it’s a cover crop. It will provide a nice layer of mulch to keep the weeds down next spring. This bed will be planted in potatoes come spring, because mustard does a fabulous job at mitigating the pests/diseases that often plague potatoes.

Other than these plants, nothing much is left in the garden, at least not of the tender plants. I do have some beautiful ‘Red Russian’ and ‘Lacinato’ kale that will stand all winter long providing some much needed greens in our diet. Thankfully the ‘Red Russian’ plants are all volunteers from a plant that went to seed this spring. A light snow is falling as I write this post, the castor beans and mustard won’t last much longer.

Do you have any plants that have lasted longer than usual?

23 Comments to “Still Hanging On”
  1. kristin @ going country on November 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

    There are some snow peas still hanging in, although they’re not producing much of anything.

    We had several Red Russian kale plants that I left in from a salad mix planting and they look AWESOME. I’m going to do that every year.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on November 18, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I spotted a new strawberry fruit the other day, and a single outside tomato that I’d somehow missed yesterday – both were quite a surprise as we’ve been having ground frosts for a few weeks now.

    I always get sad when I see flowers on fruiting plants or baby fruit at this time of year, knowing that they won’t get to grow into full fruit before the weather kicks in. It feels such a pointless waste.

    I wish I’d planted kale this year, am kicking myself that I didn’t!

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

  3. Corrie on November 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

    ‘Red Shield’ Hibiscus– still 6 feet tall and gorgeous! Last night it dropped to the 20’s, so we’ll see what it looks like today.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  4. daisy on November 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Lovely colors you still have. That mustard field is going to be a great aid in the spring garden!
    We have strawberries coming up, a tomato plant growing and some peas climbing.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  5. Rhonda on November 18, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I HAD a little volunteer tomato by my back deck (probably planted by a bird or other critter) this little tomato had blossoms just yesterday. As I’m looking out the window though, I see that our hard frost pretty much did it in last night. I’m ready for winter. Bring it on. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. Melissa on November 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I’ve got 2 Thai Chile trees that just won’t die out in my garden. I cut a whole colander full of chiles last nite thinking the second frost of the season overnight would get them– but no – still standing tall this morning. Guess the rest of them will have time to ripen after all. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather down here in SC.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  7. goatpod2 on November 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Our forsythia started blooming again!


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  8. Jennifer Fisk on November 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I had a tomato on the south side of my house on the 8th of Nov. What a treat.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  9. Sincerely, Emily on November 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Wow – can’t believe your castor bean plant is still around after those cold temps you have had. I had several castor bean plants this year but stopped watering them because we weren’t getting any rain. I was amazed how long they hung on without water. We have had a few freezes and they haven’t survived that.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  10. Joan, in Maine on November 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Broccoli – just discovered some small heads yesterday in my garden. I also had some nice heads in my low tunnels, but they were full of cabbage worms that, with the extra warmth of the tunnel, the cold hadn’t killed. I tossed them into the compost and will eat the nice frost nipped ones from outside instead! My kale is also still doing well, and carrots and parsnips, but I’ll probably mulch the root veggies and eat them in the spring instead.

    Reply to Joan, in Maine's comment

  11. Jennelle on November 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Oooh. That kale is pretty! And bonus points since it’s a volunteer! I still have carrots, raddishes and lettuces. I had to cover them last night because we got a really heavy frost. But it’s nice to enjoy some fresh veggies while the last for a few more weeks. I love kale, so maybe I’ll try growing that next year.

    Reply to Jennelle's comment

  12. Victoria on November 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    The kale looks great. I have hopes that my golden chard will survive as well. Do you cover the soil around your kale with anything more than straw?

    Reply to Victoria's comment

    • Susy on November 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Nope, and not all of it gets straw. This just had some manure spread around it and I used the straw to cover up the manure.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Victoria on November 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

        Thanks – like all gardening, this autumn & winter will be full of learning opportunities :) i’ve been journaling my garden trials, tribulations and successes…maybe I’ll put some burlap around some of the open spaces and see what happens.

        to Victoria's comment

  13. AGinPA on November 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve got broccoli heading up also, to my surprise. I thought I’d planted it too late and was hoping to overwinter it for early broccoli next spring. But instead I’m getting heads now. I asked a local farmer and she says she’s gotten broccoli as late as January some years (in zone 6.) Sometimes it pays to ignore what the books say you’re “supposed” to do when it comes to gardening.

    Reply to AGinPA's comment

  14. KimH on November 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I agree AGinPA. I do that all the time & most of the time, I come out on the good side..

    I’ve got a couple chard plants out there right now doing good & my herbs are all still green.. I need to check my lovage and see if there are a few leaves left that I can freeze.. I was going to do it a week ago & got distracted. Crossing my fingers!

    Reply to KimH's comment

  15. Erica on November 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I actually picked strawberries in ND on November 12 this year. Last year, my garden was covered with snow the end of October and had frozen in September.

    Reply to Erica's comment

  16. angela on November 19, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I was just reading a bit of your last post also. We also served as missionaries in Africa and SA. Wish we had stayed even longer but soon had some issues adapting to where were living. He missed home, friends etc. Our kids were missionary kids like you. Which church does your dad work with? In terms of garden I have only a tiny garden. Sadly we used to farm but gave it all away to go overseas as missionaries but then that did not worked for the family now we have to live different lives. Wish a good weekend for you!

    Reply to angela's comment

    • Susy on November 19, 2011 at 11:13 am

      My parents work the the Christian Churches and a few other churches. They are independent missionaries so aren’t with any group and have many supporting churches and individuals.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Amber J on November 19, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Wondering if you have any ideas about frozen potatoes from my winter stash? My potatoes froze or about a third of them so far as it is unseasonably cold in Montana and they were stored in the shed. I am so bummed and can’t find much info about ways to salvedge them. I was so excited at the prospect of eating our potatoes in February! Any assistance/tips are greatly appreciated, thanks!

    Reply to Amber J's comment

    • Susy on November 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

      I don’t have any experience with frozen potatoes, maybe mashed potatoes?

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. hollie moyer on November 19, 2011 at 1:30 am

    our swiss chard was crazy!

    Reply to hollie moyer's comment

  19. Darlene on November 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I have parsley,rosemary,thyme and oregano still growing.And today I saw a bunch of garlic I missed!!!! Yeah!!! More for next year!!! Darlene

    Reply to Darlene's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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