It’s September and seasons are winding down. In baseball, it's nearly playoff time. In the garden, some of our veggies have been picked clean, while others are ripening for fall harvesting.
The veterans, both in the garden and on the diamond, have produced with their usual consistency. Swiss chard and arugula are having their typical all-star seasons. The garden’s clean-up hitter is lettuce. The four varieties we planted in succession have been part of our every dinner since spring. We’ll still have plenty to share with our local food bank as the weather cools off.
Players may have an off year from time to time. Such was this season for our onions and summer squash. We’re not ready to cut them from next year’s line-up. We’ll work with them by adding lime to the onion patch and plenty of compost to the squash hills. Hopefully they’ll be back to all star form next season. Our plum tree, usually full of purple goodness, had nothing this year. We expect it to bounce back with it's usual fruitfulness next year.
It’s time to vote for the veggie most valuable player awards. The MVP's this year are basil and tomatoes. With four varieties of basil, pesto has been the star of the dinner table. The tomatoes are having one of the best years we've seen in some time. Lots of off season effort went into getting them ready. Seeds started indoors, with heavy doses of compost and fish emulsion, has them in very tasty form.
Every year we add new players to the Organic Veggie team. Some make their way into the regular crop rotation, while others are one and done. This year we gave yellow beets a try out. They ran away with the veggie rookie of the year award. They'll definitely be in the starting garden line-up next season.
After baseball’s world series, there's winter ball, keeping the season going all year long. Our cold frames are the garden diamond for mache, spinach and other cold-hardy veggies. These mini green houses keep our garden season going long after the end of the typical season. Kale is a winter favorite, having more flavor after a hard frost. We've been known to knock the snow off the kale in winter and steam it or add it to stews and stir-frys in January.
The veggie spring training includes parsnips, asparagus and fiddleheads, ready to eat early, while the veggie veterans are being planted to get ready for next season’s pennant drive.
Baseball is still active in the winter. Teams make trades and draft players to improve the line-up for next season. The Organic team's personnel directors will be scanning seed catalogs and talking with other gardeners to compare techniques for garden success. There isn’t really an off-season in baseball. The same can be said about our garden.