georgevandenberghe's WunderBlog

Frost coming on schedule. Great fall for gardening continues

By: georgevandenberghe, 5:03 PM GMT on October 21, 2013

After a much warmer than normal first half of October, the last ten days looks to be cool. It's likely I'll see frost on Friday or Saturday 10/25 or 10/26. This is normal. I can't expect it to hold off forever.
Peas are doing great. Tomato flavor though is declining. They just don't taste as good when they ripen in cool (low 50s at night) weather. But the cool periods in August got me a lima bean set, first decent set in four years, and I'm getting lots of them now.
All of my broccoli is between dinner plate size and huge (2' radius) plants but the heads themselves are 10 days away. All cool season stuff is growing really well.

This is the season I look forward to all year. I get the best greens of the year and there is no hurry to get them before they bolt. The season of really good greens lasts to Thanksgiving most years in DC and spinach produces some leaves through the winter. The first hot days of April or early May, though make it bolt and I've never had good luck with spring sown spinach either.

I'll find out on Friday if my August 3 planted sweet potatoes make
anything. They are blooming and there are at least some big ones but I don't know how many till I dig them all. It's heresy to plant them this late in midlatitudes so I'll just see how they do.

Update 30 pounds from 200 sq feet. This is a very poor yield for
sweet potatoes but I did plant them in August after corn matured.


About Nov 1 I'll start the broccoli to overwinter as large (6" by end of Feb.) seedlings. This produces heads in April which are small but very very tasty. I call this crop "ice broccoli"


Updated: 9:27 PM GMT on October 24, 2013

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good fall in DC but dry

By: georgevandenberghe, 4:49 PM GMT on October 03, 2013

Fall continues to go well in the DC suburban garden though it's early. First peas were ready 10/2. Gonna get a good crop of sugarsnaps mid October if we don't get early frost. Still waiting for last corn which will crop in late October. August 1 corn is just tasseling now and will not crop this year unless very unusual warmth occurs. As corn has matured, spinach, lettuce, broccoli and brussels sprouts have been set in the space. All are in good shape. Spinach and Brussels sprouts overwinter here though the latter are vulnerable to heavy snow. Broccoli makes it some years. 2012-2013 was one. Onions were a disappointment. They looked great but did not keep, rotting from the neck even though I cured them in a warm dry shady area. Maybe next year. Some did keep and await the cooking pot.
I've often posted I can't grow Lima Beans any more. Spring and summer planted ones failed again this year. However seeds planted in July bloomed in mid August cool weather and I will finally get decent beans. Target is mid October for a very heavy crop from the spring, early summer, and midsummer plantings which all set the third week of August.

My rental garden is in a stream valley and I've seen frost as early as early October and as late as mid May. I plan for frost the third week in October. The house lot freezes around Nov. 1. Lettuce killing freezes happen between Nov 15 and Dec. 15 and broccoli might make it to Christmas, sometimes later. My potted Citrus trees need protection during winter cold spells but spend about half the winter outdoors. Usually sometime in December they have to go into my unheated garage for the first time. About one year in three they have to come into the house but the combination of warmth and low light is not good for them. They do tolerate much more cold than most people realize, particularly if dormant from previous chilly weather.


We need rain. May get it 10/7 or so from TC remnants.

Updated: 9:35 PM GMT on October 03, 2013

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About georgevandenberghe

meteorologist and avid veggie gardener

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