This ‘n’ That in a November Garden

There is nothing like it. Biting into a carrot with a resounding snapping crunch.

  • Dec. 1, 2011 2:00 p.m.
SHELBY COULD TAKE this snail and move it

SHELBY COULD TAKE this snail and move it


There is nothing like it. Biting into a carrot with a resounding snapping crunch.

Cannot stay out of the bagful of garden morsels in my fridge. Good thing the healthy calories are on my side!

Normally we leave our carrots in the ground over the winter as we do not have a whole lot of good storage space for fresh vegetables. Covered with a thick blanketing layer (four to six inches or 10 to 15 cm) of leaves or straw both carrots and beets can survive nicely.

They are biennial plants which means they are supposed to stay in the ground into a second growth year in order to flower and set seed.

Well…if you are an avid seed saver and looking for the healthiest seed off of the best carrots or beets in your garden…the experts do recommend you dig up your crop, sort through for the very best specimens, cut the tops back to one or two inches (2.5-5 cm), store them in a sand-filled container over the winter and replant out in the garden in early spring.

A lot of work but is very much worth the effort for developing vegetables capable of weathering the climate changes specific to our region.

Seed-saving aside…I have been kept busy in other directions lately and poor John was left to tend with many of the fall garden chores himself. And covering those carrots and beets before the snow fell was not one of them. The decision was made they would be pulled once the snow disappeared.

As some of the carrots were fairly small-sized, I placed them in a separate pile. Got a tidy little bagful for the fridge. Nice and handy for those inevitable snacking moments.

I just have to watch my intake…and the carotene level. One year I had an orange-tinged son because he ate too many carrots.

Did I mention rain and snow? Not my favourite weather even for November. But it does give me an excellent excuse to sit and catch up on my reading…about gardening, of course.

One interesting article was on how to deal with large branches if one does not have a chipper…or a garden waste pickup service.

The procedure laid out was to stack lengths of cut branches up to three quarters of an inch (two cm) in diameter into a pile.

The accompanying photograph shows a layer of smaller diameter branches in between two layers of larger ones. The layers were built up in a criss-cross pattern, too. That allows for good air flow, an important component in a compost pile.

Because wood is a carbon-rich material and tough, it is slow to decay. The best way to speed this up is by introducing nitrogen-rich components that will generate heat in the pile and ingredients that will hang on to moisture. These would include grass clippings, garden debris, leaves and soil from emptied pots of annuals.

You do need some spare room in your garden to build a compost pile of branches as it can take two to three years for them to decay. It is all about being organic!

And speaking of which…need an organic method of dealing with snails? Just pick them up and move them 350 feet (105 metres) away from the perimeter of your garden…preferably with a major obstacle in between such as a creek or road.

One British gardener conducted an experiment to verify whether there was any truth to the old wives’ tale snails have a homing instinct…something scientists have yet to determine.

Incredibly, her findings supported the old truth after she collected some snails from two different areas of her garden, splashed a dot of paint on their shells, released them 30 feet (10 m) outside her boundary and a representative number came back.

To be sure, she repeated the experiment and increased the distance to 100 feet (30 m) and still had a significant number of marked snails return.

Don’t believe me? She won a weekly BBC Radio 4 science show competition and was written up in Gardener’s World magazine, November 2010 issue.

Goes to show…even snails know a good buffet dinner when they find one. Wonder if this works with slugs?

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her column appears every second Friday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo
CSWM plans increase to number of Comox Valley landfill bays

The expansion prompted in part by COVID-19 spacing requirements

Cumberland is demanding a major clean-up at a Derwent Avenue property. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland orders massive clean-up at downtown house

Uninsured vehicles, illegal structures have been subject of multiple complaints

Andrea Cupelli of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness told council the coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow throughout the region, as well as within Comox. . File photo
Coalition to end homelessness asking for additional funding from Comox

The coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow

Work on the first phase of renovations at the Village of Cumberland office is nearing completion. Record file photo
Cumberland office close to re-opening after reno

First phase with COVID measures should be done this month

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read