Here we are. Mid to late September. Still working in the garden in front of our house. Still pulling plants (feeding them to the deer who have been zapped away from the garden by the handy electric fence) and harvesting delicious broccoli, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, kale and beets.
It’s suppose to get down into the 30’s tonight. Frost is predicted “inland”. We’re not really inland…we’re a half mile from the moderating warmth of Lake Superior. Still, one gets nervous. What if it drops below 38 or 35 degrees? Luckily, I have a husband who goes to bed after midnight. He’ll know if the thermometer is shivering toward the freezing mark.
I spent maybe forty-five minutes putzing in the garden today. Here, you deer! Eat this brussels sprout plant which will never produce a decent sprout. Eat these yellowed and hole-filled kale. Would you guys like some basil gone to seed? You wouldn’t? Try some anyway.
You deer have been good. You have stayed away from our electric fence for yet another year. You deserve every scrap we can feed you. Before we bought the electrified fence, all those years ago, you ate every single last plant in our garden, you hoofed villains! Even the tomato stalks, you crazy fur-covered vegetarians! We did what we needed to co-inhabit with you in the woods. We electrified your summer eating fields. Now you can have whatever scraps you like, in exchange for refusing to jump over the five foot fence.
You never know what kind of garden year it will be. One year the tomatoes grow gangbusters and reach the clouds. The next year the tomatoes are miserly and the carrots grow fat and thick underground. Last year we harvested–I kid you not–51 winter squash and a dozen zucchini. This year we had Zero Squash. That is not a misprint. Zero squash.
Thank goodness our friend Nancy brought us two pumpkin and two zucchini the other day. Tonight I’m baking a pumpkin. (You know, don’t you, that little pumpkins can be eaten and appreciated just like acorn squash? Try ’em; you’re sure to agree.)
We’re also resurrecting the Juicer this evening. Remember the juicer we bought in the beginning days of this blog, ‘way back last January? We utilized it faithfully until late spring and then said–oh good–we’ll use it with our garden veggies in the summer!
Except. Summer hath come and gone and we have never taken out the juicer. Until tonight. We’re gonna make a Tomato-Vegetable Juice Barry will still be talking about in the deep-freeze days. We’re going to juice his precious tomatoes, maybe a stalk of celery, maybe the peppers, who knows what else? We’ll juice until it tastes good. We’ll let you know how it goes.
We are attempting to bake Krispy Kale chips tonight. My friend, Sonya, said her family likes ’em. Last time I tried to bake kale…well, let’s just say it didn’t work. So we’ll try again tonight.
Cut kale into 1/4 inch pieces, place in a large bowl and mix in 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. sea salt. Mix with hands and massage the kale. (Oh don’t you love it? MASSAGE the kale!) Bake 10-15 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree oven until dark green and crispy. Cool and serve. ((Eater’s note! ONE tablespoon of olive oil and ONE tablespoon of lemon juice was sufficient for us. For a LARGE batch of kale.))
Hope it tastes good…along with that pumpkin. Some wild rice, too. Oh, I think maybe I will stuff the pumpkin with green peppers and veggie sausages and maybe the rice. Should I bake beets or leave ’em until tomorrow’s dinner?
Soon we’ll rototill the garden ONE more time and say a tearful goodbye to our summer vegetable crop. We’ve planted rye grass in the empty spaces of the garden. Folks call this “green manure”. You grow it until it is several inches high, then ’till it back under. This helps to enrich the soil and, hopefully, produce more squash next year.
We’re lucky to have a nice organic garden. Lucky to eat fresh vegetables from right in front of our house. Lucky to feel so nourished and supported by our earth.
Anyone else grow a garden this year? How did your farming venture go?