Column: Growth slows as garden preps for fall

Column: Growth slows as garden preps for fall

This year I don’t want to be taken by surprise by an early frost or snow.

Jocelyne Sewell

For the Morning Star

The cold weather has slowed growth in the garden.

This year I don’t want to be taken by surprise by an early frost or snow or whatever. I started picking all the peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. This way, if we get nicer weather later, I can get all the beds ready for next year.

I am piling all the spent plants and they will be ready for lawnmower shredding. This method works very well even in piles that are a bit on the wet side. This will all go in the composters with more horse manure and grass clippings. It should be ready to put on the large garden in November with some leaves and let nature finish the process over winter. Hoping for no early snowfall.

I find that spreading the compost in the empty beds in the fall is a good time. I also add some shredded leaves to it. Come spring, I don’t have to worry about working the wet soil as we have clay and it takes a while to dry. If you cannot recognize what is in your compost, usually it is broken enough to use as a mulch. By the time spring arrives, the soil organisms will have done the work. In some of the beds, sometimes I will lay a couple sheets of newspaper on the ground before putting the mulch. For some reasons, I always found more worms in those areas. Maybe worms read the news.

Have you walked around the buildings of City Hall lately? I was there last week and the growth of some of the plants is amazing. It feels like a jungle. The canna lilies are touching the roofs, Joe Pye Weeds are huge and the Ricinus are very tall. It is worth a little walk. I would think that their watering system is better than mine.

While most people think of cucumbers as vegetables, they are actually a fruit. They contain seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants. Cucumbers are members of the plant family Cucurbitaceae, which also includes squashes and melons. The most common type of slicing cucumber found in a grocery store is the garden cucumber, Cucumis sativusCucumbers are naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, sodium, fat and cholesterol,” said Megan Ware, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, Florida.

There are just 16 calories in a cup of cucumber with its peel (15 without). You will get about 4 per cent of your daily potassium, 3 per cent of your daily fibre and 4 per cent of your daily vitamin C. They also “provide small amounts of vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamin A,” Ware said.

I was reading that the peel and seeds are the most nutrient-dense parts of the cucumber. They contain fibre and beta-carotene.

“Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps with immunity, skin, eye and the prevention of cancer.” I started eating mine without peeling. I would peel the commercial ones as I don’t know what has been sprayed on them. Some of them might be wax coated in order to keep them fresher longer. One more reason to grow your own.

This site will give you good advice if you want to grow cucumbers in containers. This is some planning you can do over the cold months and be ready in the spring.

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