Frost, peonies, raspberries and roses
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Virtually everything in the garden has
been affected by frost, except for frost-tolerant crops such as
lettuce, spinach, radishes and the like.
The main problem with any of the vining crops is the possibility
of the vines rotting back to the vegetable. This in turn means
they won't keep well. Unfortunately, vining crops harvested
early won't continue to ripen. Green pumpkins tend to stay
green. If vines were frosted, harvest any produce you want
quickly. Once the vine rots back to the fruit, the fruit will
rot quickly. Sweet potatoes are also critical to get dug if the
vines were affected.
For tomatoes, you may pick green ones
that didn't suffer freeze damage, and they will ripen after a
period of time. The best way is to pick firm, good-quality fruit
and wash well with soapy water. After they are dry, wrap in
newspaper or tissue paper and place on a rack or in a cardboard
box in a single layer. Check periodically for tomatoes going out
of condition or becoming ripe. To speed things along, you can
try putting a tomato in a paper lunch bag with a banana peel.
Bananas are high in ethylene, which is the same thing used in a
gas form to ripen tomatoes in transport during the winter. Of
course, the flavor just isn't the same as a vine-ripened tomato,
but tomatoes in the fall or winter are good regardless.
Fall care of peonies
Peonies are one of those "plant it and forget it" flowers.
Many haven't been bothered for over 50 years and are still going
strong. As with most plants, crowding can occur, and the time to
dig and divide is late September through October. Peonies do
best in soils with a slightly acid to neutral pH. The best time
to add lime, if needed, is when you dig the plants.
When dividing, make sure you leave buds on each piece you
plan to plant. To allow for proper flowering, these buds should
be no deeper than an inch when replanted. Mulching will help
yearlong on any plant, and peonies are no exception.
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With raspberries, start by removing all the dead, short and weak
canes. Thin the large remaining canes to 4 to 8 inches apart. Cut
the canes back to 5- to 6-feet tall or, if no support is provided,
3- to 4-feet tall. The canes that produced last year should be
removed anytime after harvest or in the late fall.
Canes are productive only one year, and the new growth will
produce the next year's harvest. The exception is the Heritage, or
ever-bearing, raspberry, which produces two crops of berries. One is
in the fall, and the second is in late spring or early summer. The
fall bearing tends to be on the tips of the canes, while the spring
bearing is the next growing section lower. These berries should have
the canes removed after the late spring or early summer crop. For
now, you just cut off the bearing tips.
Many calls have come in to the office concerning rose care and
pruning. The main thing in the fall is to wait for all the leaf
material to become brown. Next, you would do only enough pruning to
allow winter protection to cover the plant. The majority of the
pruning is done after winter protection is removed.
As for bush and Knock Out roses, the same principles apply. Knock
Outs really don't require anything to be done to them, other than
some possible reshaping or cutting back in the spring.
University of Illinois Extension]