Independence Day, Week 5 – and Winter Garden

Independence Days was somewhat hindered by a sorry head cold, but here’s what I did before –

Ah——tshoo!

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Rhubarb

Plant. Two 1-year-old rhubarb  plants: I know it’s not the season to plant them, but they look very healthy and were cheap so it’s worth experimenting. Seedlings are still patiently waiting for the hoop house.

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Harvest of 21 September 2009

Harvest. Kale, chard, green beans – those beans just keeps on giving! When cleaning out the dry bean bed, I found 1 straggler fava bean – needless to say it never made it into the kitchen. Coupla tiny onions and carrots. Celery: the stalks are slim but the flavor is intense. The last of a very disappointing crop of Salem potatoes.

Peachy Preserve. Canned cranberry-peach preserves (6 8oz), peach salsa (7 8oz), peach butter (8 8oz). That and some munching took care of my half bushel of peaches.

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Peach butter

Waste not. The egg man at my Farmers Market (eggs so fresh, they still have feathers stuck to them) sells them in used cartons, the half dozens he sells in dozen-cartons cut in half. I asked him if I should bring back the cartons from last week and he said yes, please, he’s always running short. So today i brought him the 50 or so egg cartons I had saved in anticipation of our chickens. That will now only happen next Spring, and by then we and our friends will have saved up enough new ones. I’m also saving all those peach seeds to be put in once I feel better – what are the chances I end up with a peach orchard? I also started saving the celery and carrot greens for veg stock – why hadn’t I thought of that before?

Want Not. The stores are putting away their canning stuff, so I stocked up on extra pectin and lids – not because they were on sale (they weren’t :( ), but to have them handy.

Build community food systems. Nothing much in particular, definitely no “building,” but here’s a thought about the Farmers Market. I make it a point to buy something at each stall at my Farmers Market (it’s a small market). I buy most of my produce there for 3 reasons: (1) reduced food miles, (2) I can ask the farmers personally about their pesticide use and employment policies, and (3) to support local and small agriculture. That last one is important: in the future we will want these farmers to still be in business, we will want that farm land to be still in use.

Eat the food. We ate all of the food we harvested – the harvest is a trickle at the moment, too little to can. The plan was to bake bread, but the dripping nose, 0% taste and splitting headache made it less than appetizing.

Thought for next year’s garden: tea plants and elecampane!

This is the general plan for the Fall and Winter garden (click for larger):

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The idea is to put up a small hoop house that will be dismantled next Spring (blue). It will cover a rectangle of two large (8×4) and two small (4 x 4) beds, which will each have a row cover – so double protection. These will have spinach, lettuce, kale, mizuna, broccoli, carrots, etc. The cold frame (smaller blue rectangle) in front of the house will either harbor the most hardy veggies, or I might experiment with a hot frame with fresh horse manure… My copy of Winter Harvest arrived just in time!

The orange/brown beds are in, the light yellow ones still need to be dug – hopefully this Fall. The yellow rows at the bottom left will be rows (not beds). I’m putting winter rye in all the unused beds this winter, except for Bed 12, which will have the rhubarb and garlic, and Bed 13, which might become home to all those peach seeds – I’ll transplant whatever erupts in Spring to pots.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi there. I found your blog through the Riot for Austerity website/e-mail list. I’ve been enjoying reading your entries about your garden.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I also planted some rhubarb at the wrong time of year (last fall) and it took just fine. This was it’s fist spring so I did not harvest any, but the plants are thriving. I’m in Zone 5, Chicago area. Hope that helps!

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