The closet is so full of squash we’ve had to move our shoes out of there. Potatoes and newspapers are layered in brown paper bags on the floor of the root cellar. The freezer is filled to capacity with green beans, beef, cranberries, beets, beef, peas, greens, more beef, tomato sauce, strawberries and rhubarb. And beef.
So, you might think the gardening is over, right? Au contraire! The gardening is still a plethora in the happening (editors note- please accept that sentence as some kind of plethoretic poetry. If you happen to know my husband, feel free to ask. -jmm)
It's fall planting time. Yes, it's fall, and yes, I said planting. This is the time to plant garlic and to spread seeds into the cold frames. Eating from the garden year round means fall is both harvest and planting time.
|Two kinds of kale|
Garlic is essential to our cooking; we use it in almost everything. It needs at least a two-month cold spell for the individual cloves to grow and multiply, and here in Maine we can pretty much count on at least a few chilly months. Last weekend we planted 50 cloves that will be ready to harvest next July. After the ground freezes we'll cover the garlic row with straw.
Our kale row is looking terrific. Kale is a very hardy green that is perfectly fine left in the garden all winter. After a frost it develops a wonderfully sweet flavor. We brush off the winter snow and pick it to use in stir fries or soups, or steam it as a side dish. Its a favorite winter veggie for us.
Theres a whole lot going on with the cold frames right now. They've been set up for our winter veggies. We've blogged about our cold frames before; they're an integral part of our gardening experience. Click on "Cold Frame" in the side column to read those posts.
Lettuce planted in August has been used up. More lettuce was planted in September and it should be ready in December. Claytonia is now tender sprouts and will be ready to eat in December. Mache was planted in August and will be ready to eat in a couple of weeks. Beet greens and spinach are growing and will be used in salads and as cooked greens through winter. And spinach planted this month will over-winter and be ready to eat in spring.
As we pick these veggies spaces in the cold frames open up. We'll fill them in with more mache, spinach and arugula. These will be ready in early spring when seeds for the summer garden are being put into peat pots. Fall is a great time to be outdoors. Tending the cold frames is no chore at all considering the joys of being able to eat fresh-picked greens all winter long. -G.H.