KUSA - Our remarkable late warm weather enables us to continue to work in the garden and prepare for winter.
You may still have late crops to harvest, ranging from peppers and tomatoes to lettuce and cabbage. The latter two are frost tolerant. To harvest a head of cabbage, cut the plant off at the base. Remove the outer leaves to reveal the firm interior head. Refrigerate to keep it crisp; cabbage keeps for an extended period.
Consider saving herbs from your garden for winter use. Some herbs are actually tender perennials or shrubs that can be dug and grown indoors during winter. These include such herbs as lemon verbena, rosemary, stevia, basil and scented geraniums. We're digging, cutting back and re-potting the "citronella" scented geranium that is an effective mosquito repellent. Cutting back the top growth by half or more helps the plant survive re-potting and adjusting to life indoors, where there is less light in winter.
Cuttings from this can be rooted to create new plants. Leaves of herbs such as basil can also be frozen in water in ice cube trays. After the cubes freeze, pop them out and store in plastic bags in the freezer. Use them for soups and stews whenever you desire the taste of fresh herbs in your recipes.
Some plants should be left alone to go to seed. Pot marigold (Calendula), for example, is a true annual plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in one growing season. Let the pretty yellow or orange flowers, the petals of which are used as a saffron substitute in cooking, go to seed. The seeds will drop and germinate in spring, creating a whole new pretty and useful display next year.
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