Our killing frost finished off the rest of the vegetable plants in my garden. The only ones left were the cold-tolerant types like Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips and a few others. I thought that I could coast along until it was time to harvest those crops later next month.
Earlier this week, I went out to the garden to check my Brussels sprouts. I was surprised to find the sprouts covered with aphids and the leaves infested with active cabbage worms. Apparently, our warm Indian summer stimulated a population explosion of insects.
I put away the sprayer for the season a couple of weeks ago. So, I dragged it back out and filled it with a solution of Pyola insecticide. This is a very safe and effective spray for most garden insects. It is basically canola oil combined with a small amount of pyrethrum and is approved for use in organic gardens.
After thoroughly drenching my Brussels sprouts, I triple-rinsed the sprayer, dried it out and put it back into storage. Hopefully, that will be the last time it will see the light of day until next spring.
We had a pretty decent crop of Butternut squash this year. I planted them in a new part of the garden, which I’m sure helped boost the yield. Plus, we had very few insects on the squash. As a result, we now have plenty of Butternut that will go into storage straight from the garden — unprocessed.
If you keep winter squash under the proper conditions, you can enjoy them well into winter. The most important thing to keep in mind is to leave the stem on the squash. This is true of all varieties of winter squash and pumpkins.
If you plan to use them in the next week or two, then it really doesn’t matter if the squash has a stem or not.
Sometimes you can find farmers selling stemless winter squash at a deep discount. Other than cooking them for a meal, you can freeze or can those bargain farmer’s market squash to use later on.
If the stems are breaking off your squash as you pick them, use your pruning shear to cut the stems from the vine. You’ll find it’s worth the extra effort.
Store your best, unblemished squash in a spot that will stay around 50 degrees F with about 50 percent humidity. You should be able to enjoy your home-grown squash into early 2013.