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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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Harvest Now Before Frost Strikes

Are you ready for the first hard frost of winter? According to Victory Seeds Co ., the average first fall frost in our area comes around mid October.

Frost will kill most annual flowers or vegetables still growing in the garden. Some vegetables, such as kale and Brussels sprouts , are unharmed by frost. In fact, the flavor of these brassicas (members of the cabbage family) improves. Parsnips and other root vegetables, like rutabagas , also taste better after exposure to the cold.

So if the warmth of the last few days has lulled you into thinking winter will never come, harvest the rest of your crops now before it's too late. Here are some October gardening tips:

• Unripe tomatoes continue to ripen indoors. Cut the stem on which tomatoes are growing and hang upside down in the basement.

• Leave parsnips and other root vegetables in the soil and cover with a thick layer of raked leaves. You can dig them up as needed. Mark the bed with a driveway marker so you know where to dig after it snows.

• Pick any chard and spinach still growing. Rinse, blanch, dry and pack it into Ziploc  bags. Store in the freezer to enjoy during the winter.

• Parsley can survive a few frosts, but why not pick it all now? Mince and freeze it in plastic snack bags. When you need parsley for a hearty vegetable soup, it will be ready to toss into the pot.

Are you ready for the big fall clean-up?

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