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November 2: Tomatoes, Peppers And Flowers, Oh My!

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It’s funny what a difference climate change has made in Indiana. When I first started gardening, the northern part of Indiana that I reside in was a U.S. Department of Agricultural hardiness zone 5a. Several years ago, this same area became a USDA hardiness zone 6a – and believe me, that makes a difference in what you can grow – especially if you are pushing hardiness zones like I am. Bananas, gingers and palm trees have survived over the winter months in my garden. Of course, they had to be mulched well and covered with a make-shift cold frame – but hey, getting these awesome tropical plants to survive in the ground in Indiana made the extra work well worth it!

Of course, I grow so much more than just ornamentals over winter. Everyone knows store bought produce never tastes quite as good as produce that comes from your own garden – and this is true regardless of the season. In fact, winter-grown greens have a sweeter taste and – in my opinion – are far more tender than those that are forced in a greenhouse or grown during the other three seasons. Today I have peppers forming, tomatoes ripening, lettuce that is ready to pick – all inside a cold frame. Outside in the garden kale, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) and Brussels sprouts are still growing – and will continue to thrive throughout the winter without protection. Best of all, frost actually sweetens the taste of these three vegetables.

Even though we have had frost and temperatures in the lower 30’s here already there are still a lot of flowers in bloom. The main part of the garden has not died back yet and from indoors it still looks like summer in the garden. Here are a few photos I took today in various parts of my garden.




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