Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November greens

The lettuce and spinach were in the ground only hours earlier. That half-moon slice of radish near center top is a new favorite called 'Chinese Red Meat.' Below, behold a bowl of 'Tyee' spinach.

The last of the salad greens were harvested over the weekend. The spinach and lettuce held up quite well under the floating row covers, put in place as much for deer protection as for an extra degree or two on the thermometer.

The spinach -- handsome, sturdy leaves of 'Tyee' -- were cooked with cream. Popeye would be proud!

The lettuce -- a beautiful red called 'Galactic' and a speckled loose-head variety called 'Mottistone' -- consorted with some of the spinach in an early winter salad fortified with carrots, red onion and radishes harvested earlier this fall and stored in the fridge or in the crawlspace under the stairs.

Even in Zone 3-4, it is still possible to enjoy salad picked only hours earlier on a cold, gray day at the end of November.

Sources include Johnny's Selected Seeds and Territorial Seed Company. We found the Galactic seed at Johnny's but it doesn't look like they carry it anymore.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

(Rosy) Seventh Day November

Some mornings, when the timing and circumstances are just right, the sun crests the trees across the road and throws beams of golden or pink light onto the tops of the trees behind our house. The effect only lasts a few minutes, but those few minutes are magical.

On this Nov. 7 we were treated to a "rosy-fingered dawn." And then we were treated to an evening meal of freshly picked lettuce and parsnips. The hours between were filled with work so we're a little shy on photos this time around. Still, click here or see the sidebar at right for more images.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Better late than never: Seventh Day October

 A bee works over a stand of asters in the backyard.

Did you think that maybe we had fallen off the face of the Earth? That maybe we had finally had enough of all the nonsense we've been witnessing thanks to the politicians and big-business types? That maybe we had decided just to pack it in and go off the grid? As tempting as that may be, the real reason you haven't seen much here lately is that we've been really, really busy.

October was a month of transition -- both in the garden and out of the garden. So let's talk garden: 
  • Containers of summer annuals and vegetables have been emptied.
  • Pots of scented geraniums and other plants for overwintering have been brought inside. Still need to find homes for everything. The dining room floor is way too crowded!
  • Waterlilies and umbrella plants stowed in the closet under the stairs.
  • Fish moved into winter quarters in the aquarium in the guest room. All four appear to be adjusting well.
  • Harvesting potatoes, carrots, onions. Eating celeriac, beets, parsnips, spinach and lettuce.
  • Planting garlic.
  • Planting the martagon lilies we bought during a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • Cages going up for winter deer protection.
October passed by too quickly. Here, at least, we can slow down a little and see where we've been.  Take a look here or in the sidebar at right.