Sunset on this Season

Well folks, with November here, the sun is setting on this gardening season. I expect many of you have your garden all cleaned up. You may wish to cultivate the garden now, especially if you have applied some limestone and/or manure. This does increase the chances of wind erosion so you could spread straw on your garden if you are in a windswept area.

If you like the idea of expanding your garden to include floral plants in addition to the edible ones, there are a number of bulbs and other perennials that are planted in the fall. You would need to plant them right away, as early November is the last of the season for this. As garlic is a bulb, it’s your last chance to get that planted as well.

Herbs can be planted indoors in pots now if you have a south-facing window with good sunlight. Fresh herbs like basil or chives can really make winter cooking more interesting. Even if you are not familiar with using fresh herbs, do a little bit of experimenting. Taste a bit of a leaf to see if the flavour appeals to you, and then add a little to a dish and see if you like it. Experimenting can be fun.

There are also some things you can mull over the winter in anticipation of next year’s season. A greenhouse or a cold frame can be great tool to extend your season of eating fresh veggies. Basic ones are easy to construct and don’t have to be expensive. Consider doing that now, so you can take advantage of the intense March sun to warm the inside of the structure. If you wait until next spring to do it, you will be dealing with frost in the ground, making it harder to construct plus you won’t benefit from the early spring sun. For more details on cold frames, see my April column here.

Expanding your knowledge is always a good idea when it comes to gardening. There are many groups on social media that are dedicated to gardening and it can be a great way to connect with other gardeners, both local and from away.

A root cellar is an option that can allow you to store your harvest well into the winter months. Once April hits next year, you may get distracted with your planting and not have as much time to devote to making one. A small one can be prepared relatively easily, just do a quick search on the internet for ideas and instructions. If a neighbor has one, you could also ask them about their experience.

Do you want to expand your plantings to include other fruits and berries? There are many foods that grow well in PEI including grapes, apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, pears, apples, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries just to name a few. If you have room in your backyard, now is the time to think if you want to make an addition. I will have more information on these in the coming months.

Finally, as we are approaching Remembrance Day, I think it is important to recognize the service of all of our veterans. In our country many people are fortunate to have a relative abundance of food, including vegetables. There were times in the past when food was in short supply and rationing was common. Also, please remember the farmers and fishers that provide so much of the food we consume. There are also those that may be less fortunate, remember to help them out if you can.

Happy gardening, stay warm and have a wonderful winter.

About Christopher Dunbar

Christopher lives in western PEI along with his spouse and 4 kids, on a property that was once owned by his great grandparents. He grew up in a large farming family and has deep island roots. This rural background and exposure to outdoor living has given him a keen interest in our maritime culture and the many plant types that grow here. He furthered his interest in growing things by obtaining a master’s degree in in plant biology. Not surprisingly, all of his 25-year career has been involved in agriculture and food. He spends some of his spare time growing berries, flowers, vegetables and tree fruits of all kinds in his gardens. He and his family really enjoy the unique lifestyle that PEI has to offer.
Writing creatively about adventures in rural living is also one of his passions. Feel free to contact him if you want to share any of your interests.

View All Posts