Monthly Archives: November 2013

First Fall Freeze

Cari Ortolani,

We had the first killing frost last night, and today, I need to cut down my asparagus plants. Sever stems to about six inches from the ground and mulch with 4-5 inches of pine needles. Before discarding the vegetation into the compost pile, check for praying mantis cocoons; this beneficial insect tends to attach its egg masses on side shoots. Remove the cocoon without disturbing the casing and store under a overhang or protected area away from possible predators.
For artichoke plants – cut limp vegetation a couple of inches from the ground, heap a good amount of pine needles against the base of the stems and place a netting or branches to keep the mulch from blowing away.
Another way is to eradicate the plant, place in a container filled with damp sand and store in the basement or garage until spring.

Ci risentiamo,

Nick Mancini, The Organic Italian

Protect your fig trees

Cari Ortolani,
As you already know, fig trees are subtropical and need winter protection in cold climates. Some cultivars like Brown Turkey and Celeste are more winter hardy, however, they do not produce high quality fruit like the more delicate types found in California and temperate zones of Europe.
Yesterday, with the help of two colleague Master Gardeners, we bunched and tied the branches of my Latterula, erected a house like structure with 2×4’s and covered it with 1 inch Styrofoam insulation.
Afterwards, we wrapped it with a tarp, and now is fully protected from the cold/wind and waiting for spring to arrive.
If you have a fig sapling, don’t plant outdoors in the fall, wait until spring and after the frost date in your area has passed. For more details, refer to my book: THE COMPLETE ORGANIC GARDEN
Ci risentiamo,
Nick Mancini, The Organ Italian