A harvest of fresh vegetables from th garden can continue even after the first killing frost. And, if stored properly after picking, some kinds of vegetables will last several months into the winter.
Cold weather actually improves the flavor of Brussels sprouts and kale. Both can be picked from under snow. They should be cooked immediately or else stored temporarily in a freezer. Being partially frozen in the garden, they tend to get soft and spoil if kept very long above freezing.
Beets and turnips can be stored in a cool, dark, frost-free place for winter use. Or, leave them in the ground and cover them with a thick layer of straw or evergreen boughs. Whenever the weather permits, push aside the covering and pull as many roots as you want.
If you cannot protect your tomatoes from that first frost, plants with fruit on them can be dug up, roots and all, and hung upside-down in the basement or garage. To get the best fruit the last two weeks the plants are in the ground, pinch off tips and flowers about a month before the first frost is expected. This will cause all the energy to go towards the growth of the remaining fruit.
Another method is to wrap green tomatoes in newspaper to ripen slowly in a cool, dark place. The paper traps ethylene gas given off by tomatoes which causes the fruit to turn red upon reaching the mature-green stage.
Do not store tomatoes at temperatures below 50 degrees before they ripen: Although the chilled fruit may not be decayed, it will be much less tasty than if allowed to ripen before being exposed to low temperatures.
Cool damp cellars are fine for beets, carrots, white potatoes and winter-type cabbage. The room should be kept dark and ventilated. If the temperature is below 40, stored vegetables may last several months. A dry, unheated basement may be used if you cover the vegetables with slightly damp peat moss or with plastic to reduce water loss.
Cabbage, potatoes and other root crops also can be stored in an unheated garage or tool shed. The temperature will remain at a more uniform level if the building is insulated.
Winter-type onions such as Ebenezer will keep for several months in a cool dry place: Be sure the onion necks are dry and shrunken before harvest. Sweet potatoes should be dug carefully to avoid bruising, cured at 80 to 85 degrees for about 10 days,
Winter-type squash and pumpkins can be stored in a moderately dry basement at about 60 degrees. Put them on a shelf or counter. They may spoil if kept on damp concrete floor.
Q. How do you prune a Bourbon rose? I planted one a year ago and it's now seven feet tall . A. the Bourbon rose, a hybrid, needs very little pruning other than removal of dead wood. If one branch shades another, the less desirable should be removed. Usually the bush g rows too tall when it's not getting enough sun. Roots may be loosened in the soil as the winter wind blows long stems around: By cutting back long stems in the fall, you can avoid this.
Q. Each year I plant a row of spinach in the spring and each year it goes to seed. What am I doing wrong ? A. Most likely you are planting it too late. Spinach is a cool-season crop and goes to seed after the weather warms up. Maybe you'll have better luck planting it in mid-summer for a fall crop this year and a spring crop next year.
Q. Is it true that orchids can be grown in the home? I've always thought a greenhouse was necessary . A. Many varieties can be raised without a greenhouse but they do require more humidity than is found in most modern homes. But in raising the humidity to benefit the orchids, you'll be more comfortable, too. Use misters, humidifying trays or room humidifiers.
Q. Is it true that planting marigolds in the vegetable garden will protect tomato plants from nematodes? A. Research has shown that when marigolds are planted as a solid crop and allowed to grow for 90 to 120 days, they reduce the root-knot nematode population so that later they do litle damage. However, planting marigolds around existing garden crops does not prevent nematode infections.
Q. What is your opinion of the silver maple for planting on the front lawn? I've been told it is one of the fastest growing trees and one of the most popular. A. Shade tree evaluation studies by Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center, Wooster, showed the silver maple to be undersirable because of brittle wood, poor crotch development and large extensive surface roots which prevent the growth of grass. It is unfortunate that silver maple is among the biggest sellers in garden centers, according to OARDC.