My Garden Is Dying!

I am so not ready for the season to change. I am a total summer girl at heart and the cold weather is only beneficial for me if I am at home, curled up on the couch watching a good movie or reading a great book! But it’s life and I am preparing for winter! Well, at least I am but my poor beautiful vegetable garden isn’t.

This is where I need your help! This past summer I decided to plant my very first garden and to be honest I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to planting and taking care of it. I guess I was lucky (or maybe I was a gardener in my past life) but the garden grew and I had all sorts of fresh produce in my back yard! Unfortunately, now my garden is dying because of the cold weather. So, what do I now?

I have basil plants that I would love to save, I have heard that the best way to save herbs is to freeze them but I am not sure what the best “freezer” method is.


Also, I have tomato, cucumber and green pepper plants, what do I do with them? Am I suppose to dig them up and throw them away or do they stay planted with the chance of growing back next year (is that even possible)?

Help please! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sarah- Go Chiefs and Go Bears!

P.S. I still need to try making Fried Green Tomatoes again!

  • Jennifer Hess

    Not sure about the cucumber and green pepper plants, but there are a couple of things I’ve heard you can do to keep your tomato plants going: the method I’ve tried and had some success with is bringing in your underripe tomatoes and storing them in a dark, cool place individually wrapped in newspaper. This is something my parents did when I was growing up, and when I tried it myself, it worked pretty well! The second thing that I’ve heard about but not tried is pulling the entire plants out by the roots and hanging them upside down – the tomatoes will continue to ripen on the vine. This is probably only a good option if you have the space to do that, though. :)

    And yes to fried green tomatoes!

  • Victoria

    The plants won’t come back. Sorry. Chicago gets too cold during winter and it will kill the roots. You’ll have to start again with them next year.

    If you keep the plants watered and not looking dried out, you might be able to get a few more nice, ripe veggies before the first frost. When the first frost comes, pick ‘em all and deal with them then.

    You can pick the basil and either make pesto and freeze it, or blanche it and then process it with some olive oil and freeze that (ice cube trays are wonderful for that). But the frozen stuff will never give that nice, fresh texture from fresh picked basil.

    You can dry the basil… on a sheet pan in a dry, hot place, or try a low oven to keep from buring. That will give you more than enough basil to last until summer.

    Basil gets too woody, it’s usually not a pant you can try to divide to bring indoors. But if you have other herbs (I’ve divided chives, sage, tarragon, rosemary and thyme to put in to smaller pots) you can try to divide them and bring them indoors to some nice, sunny spots. If you really want fresh basil, buy a new basil plant and start again indoors.

    It’s one of the sad realities of gardeing around here. Things die, and October is not a kind month to gardens.

  • Sarah

    Jennifer- thanks for the advice however, I don’t have any room at all to try and hang them in my house but that is a great idea.Oh well….I have brought in a couple under ripen tomatoes and just stored them in my kitchen and they turned out delicious so I have a feeling that is what I am going to have to do once Chicago starts to get bitter cold. Lets hope much later than sooner!

    Victoria- You must be live in Chicago? I figured that the plants would not come back. It’s a good thing – trust me! My two tomato plants took over my whole garden this year and I don’t want that to happen next year. It’s just a sad thought of my fresh veggies going away for the winter months but at least I have something to look forward to in the summer! So far we here in Chicago are getting blessed with beautiful weather so I haven’t even begun to dig anything up. With the basil, I never even thought of making pesto out of it! That is a great idea! Do you have any suggestions on how to make it? I am going to dry some out too. Thanks!

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