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Snug as Bugs

November 7th, 2018

Two weeks ago our weather started to dip down into the 20’s at night. Before the cold snap hit, I covered my fall broccoli and my lettuce with low tunnels and plastic (the lettuce has a layer of agribon on top of the plants as well as the plastic). It has since warmed up a bit again, but I still have them protected under their warm blankets. Yesterday, I headed out to see how things were doing.

The lettuce is looking GREAT, as is the broccoli. I won’t get any large heads of broccoli, but that’s OK. Once we harvest the heads that are there, the chickens will enjoy the leaves. I’ll wait to pull them until the snow flies and the chickens are pining for something green to eat. The lettuce we will harvest here and there as we need it. None of these varieties are particularly cold tolerant, so they will all be eaten before Thanksgiving. Overall, it’s been a decent fall gardening season, especially since I didn’t really plan on doing much at all!

Are you growing any winter vegetables? any favorites to recommend?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

September 15th, 2013

Americans are fondest of the foods of summer. Peas, beans, corn, and tomatoes are most people’s first choices among vegetables, regardless of the season. Modern agriculture, modern trucking, and the freezer allow us to have them even in the depths of winter–beets, carrots, parsnips, turnip, cabbage and winter squash–were popular then because they kept with little trouble in the cellar all winter long without much loss of flavor; and they were, in any case, sustenance when nothing else was available.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

Personally I much prefer the flavors of most of the other seasonal vegetables above the typical summer ones. Perhaps it comes from a childhood of eating canned green beans, frozen corn and applesauce all winter long. Perhaps I’m just older and learning to appreciate a wider variety of vegetables for the many flavors and textures that they bring to my table. Or perhaps, I just love being able to garden over a longer season because of these vegetables.
cabbages 1
Sweet Potatoes 3
This winter I’m looking forward to my root cellar full of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and celeriac. In the coming years I hope to add chicories and other brassicas to my stores.

What’s your favorite non-summer vegetable?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

January 15th, 2012

There is, as well, something deeply comforting about a winter larder, connecting us with ancestors who either provided for their own needs or went without. The question, “What what shall we have for dinner?” thus becomes not a matter of pleasant choices among options within close proximity, but also a realization of some vital link, historically and spiritually, with our own past.

Finally, there is still something living about vegetables one gathers out of storage. Chicories have actually grown, prodding fat witloofs deep beneath a thick layer of peat, signaling their readiness for the table by snouts poking barely into the air. Cabbages and brussels sprouts are stored with their roots and outer leaves, from which they still draw sustenance throughout the winter. Carrots, beets, and winter radishes, pulled from the damp sand, will display frail white whiskers of root, and may ten have produce a tuft of new leaves, not an unacceptable addition to a winter salad.

All this, with the smell of life still on it, reminds us, if with a difference, of the pleasure of the summer garden, and of harvesting from a medium closer to life than a plastic bag.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

There are no words I can add that will expound on the simple beauty of this passage.

Do you have a larder, pantry, root cellar? What’s your favorite shelf-stable winter vegetable?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.