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The Last of the Giants Cut Down by Frost

11/19/2012 3:13:50 PM

Tags: heirloom tomatoes, cosmos, killing frost, Kate Copsey

The first real frost hit last week followed by a few days in the balmy 60s at the weekend. This was perfect timing for killing most of the tender growth – it should have killed it all, but a few stragglers still manage to be alive – and the mild weekend weather was comfortable for the final garden cleanup. 

Long Grafted Tomato Root 

I started with the veggie beds where the last tomato plant was finally dead – or at least the top part was dead, the lower stem was still green but it was composted anyway. The bushiness and general vigor of the plant could be attributed to the root of the plant (picture above) which was about four feet long and I am not even sure if I got the whole root even then! The beast was a graft which I am told is onto a wild tomato plant with the top being the Japanese Black Trifele, a beautiful dark heirloom tomato and one which I will try again next year. 

The perennial bed was also in dire need of attention – mainly the cosmos which was now dead but which was covering everything in the vicinity. The seeds were a group of leftover, forgotten seeds that I strew about in early June. They didn’t get pampered or watered but germinated anyway and grew, and grew and grew. Finally they did put out pretty pink flowers which continued until the frost finally cut the plant down. When I clipped it back, the lower stems were at least an inch in diameter and the whole stem was close to 6 or even 7 feet in length – I can’t really say height as many stems were knocked over by the gusty winds we had over the late summer. They also draped over the chair, covered two small rose bushes and almost killed a Kerria japonica.  


The other giant was not really a surprise and had been felled by winds in late September. This was the giant anise hyssop so it was suppose to be tall but even so I was surprised to see it get to well over 6 feet! I have it in a place where a wild rose had been. The rose was straggly and poked behind the downspout for support and was composted the first summer. 

So the garden looks slightly less colorful and definitely flatter without these tall plants, but I will grow them all again next year! 

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Post a comment below.


12/19/2012 2:53:18 AM
Gearing up here for Winter storm Draco as the weather people call it. We just might pull off a white Christmas. We can certainly use the moisture.

Kate Copsey
12/18/2012 9:46:48 PM
We area now waiting for snow - probably not a white Christmas here!

11/21/2012 1:03:00 PM
Kate, frosts have killed all gardens here in Nebraska a couple weeks ago. Now just as in your area the temperatures are back into the 60s but I suspect it won't last long. The weather guys say that Thanksgiving is about the last of the warm weather then it's into the 30s for the highs which is right where it should be for this time of the year. My garden has been cleaned up and mulched in for the winter slumber. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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