Monthly Archives: November 2011

Digging In

It is change of seasons and I have not done a good job of documenting the garden.

The sunflowers flourished, seeds were ravaged by squirrels, and have been cutdown.

Our vineing flowers bloomed shockingly late along our fence line contrasting with the yellowing plants. Nasturtiums (all kinds), morning glories. They climbed the giant sunflowers, piled at the feet of mexican sunflowers.

My initial fear that our tomatoes were doomed was soothed and we spent the bulk of the summer trying in vain to build structures big enough to support the tomato vines. We have plans for next year. In spite of the autumn chill the plants have continued to produce, though it’s now time for Patrick’s Dream Green Tomato Salsa (ask him, it’s his dream).

We learned to can and have 12 jars of tomato sauce, 3 jars of tomato juice, 7 jars of pickled jalapenos (ask him! I have NO idea what you’re supposed to do with them), 2 jars of pickled okra (yum!), 7 jars of ketchup, 3 jars of garden salsa. A pressure canner would be a great holiday gift in order to allow us to experiment without killing ourselves with the botulism (hey parents!).

Herbs were either replanted and brought inside or cut and dried. I will crumble the dried ones into jars this weekend.

We have a single beautiful string of dried red peppers that we’ve learned is called a “ristra”. As with last year’s string we’ll crush the peppers into a hot pepper powder that will last us all year.

The chard refuses to die. We have had chard gratins, chard pizza, chard saag, chard soup, chard quesadillas, chard ravioli, chard pasta sauce, and several chard tarts. OMG IT WILL NOT DIE. I have clear cut it several times. Apparently it grows happily over the winter in the snow. Go figure.

The kale is infested with something but seems happy enough otherwise. Peppers are still on the plants but are kind of blackened. I’ve run out of steam for them. The strawberries will probably try to take over that box next year.

We certainly got bang for our buck with the eggplants. These were the last of them. The plants were still flowering but the fruits had stopped getting big in the cold air:

No bigger than 4 inches.

This weekend we will get a pitchfork and a bale of hay. We will pull out all the plants from the garden except the chard (DARN). We have four heads of hardneck garlic that we’ll break into cloves and plant in one of the beds. Each clove will grow into it’s own head of garlic. Hardneck garlic is so strong that we should have enough to last us much of next year! We will cover the garden beds with the straw in preparation for the winter. In the spring we will have garlic scapes from the hardneck garlic heads to enjoy.

Apparently over the winter it’s common for gardeners to spend time pouring over seed catalogs, dreaming of next summer’s garden. I’d always sworn that gardening was a hobby I would avoid. On purpose. Never ever. It lead to dreaming, more cooking, canning, big messes, and everything else you’ve seen here. Yet here we are. The garden was the hobby that Patrick and I started together on purpose, a hobby that neither of us knew anything about. It was something that we could build together, learn about together, literally grow together.  Look how successful we’ve been? Look how much dreaming we’ll do together over the winter.

late season tomatoes

hight

I already have seeds for Moon and Stars Watermelon.