Winding Down the Summer Garden
It's been a while since I've posted, but the garden is still growing, just at a slower pace. My short hiatus from the blog in October was due to a much-needed vacation, spending some time on homework (yes...homework!!), and an additional writing project. Vacation included fun, friends and family out west. Just what we needed.
I'm also excited to have started a couple of new "cerebral" endeavors. I started taking a class with the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture in their Sustainable Food and Farming certification program. I'm taking learning to the next level and I'm both challenged and grateful. And, as if writing for one blog wasn't enough, I started blogging for the Urban Gardeners Republic Blog. It's the largest online community of urban gardeners and I'm excited to be on their blogging team. Be sure to check it out - there are lots of great gardeners with interesting tips and ideas. You can read my posts for Ripening Tomatoes Indoors and How to Grow Garlic. More to come!
So, while I often feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew...I'm still busy in the garden (and in the kitchen with my garden goods) and thought I'd post an update to rejuvenate.
What's Still Growing & What's Not
In September, I started taking down my tomato plants that were no longer producing and in mid-October, I took in the very last of my tomatoes to ripen indoors. There were about a dozen large tomatoes and what seemed like a bushel of Sun Gold and Supersweet 100s left on the vine. I ate some raw when they ripened and just roasted many of them and made a nice soup. I just did a simple roasted tomato soup this time with a touch of balsamic vinegar added for a little extra tang.
Get the Recipe: Tomato & Fennel Soup
Peppers tend to be late bloomers, and I've got some Green Bell Peppers (small ones) and Sweet Banana Peppers in the garden. The Ancho Peppers have JUST started to come out....they are really late....I hope they can make it to maturity. I have a feeling that they were dwarfed by taller plantings in the garden bed and didn't get as much early sun as they should have. It's a lesson for sure - don't overcrowd and be aware of the height of your plants when planting.
I'm excited for my celeriac (celery root). Last year, I only grew 6 bulbs. This year, I have 24!! I will admit though that they seem a bit small. I'm leaving them in the dirt for a bit longer. Maybe they'll make it to the Thanksgiving table this year. I'd love to share my harvest with family.
Try the Recipe: Celery Root & Apple Soup
Carrots & Parsnips
Root vegetables like carrots and parsnips are easy to grow and are a great late-season vegetable to harvest. I still have Rainbow Carrots, Nelson Carrots and Javelin Parsnips growing in the garden. I recently pulled a few of the carrots out to roast them and they were deliciously sweet.
The "Nelson" carrots are real winners. They're incredibly tasty and sweet, and don't grow too deep, which is great for containers (but you'll need deeper containers than wine boxes).
Learn to Grow: How to Grow Parsnips
Get the Recipe: Roasted Parsnips with Garlic & Rosemary
I just took in the last of my eggplant - about 3 lbs worth. As I've written before, Eggplant is a wonderfully easy-to-grow and delicious addition to any garden.
Eggplant is not frost tolerant, so if you still have some in the garden - keep an eye on the frost predictions in your area.
Every year, I make a batch or two of Eggplant Parmesan. I freeze much of it to enjoy over the course of the winter. Recipe coming soon!
Learn to Grow: All About Eggplant
Although the lettuce I planted in spring isn't still going, a late summer planting of lettuce is. It's leaf lettuce, so I'm able to trim it back and it continues to grow more.
Learn to Harvest: Harvesting and Storing Lettuce
I'm excited that I actually have newer plantings that I put in the dirt in August and the beginning of September. I'm trying to extend the season as much as possible. When you get used to pulling fresh organic produce from your backyard, that's hard to let go of easily...
More on the garden in my next post!