epic fall gardening

It’s the equinox, first day of fall.  Looks like it outside.  The leaves have really started to change the past few days.  It’s amazing what a week can do for the landscape.

I made enormous progress on both gardening fronts–landscaping and vegetables–this weekend.

Yesterday was Landscaping Day.  A friend of ours, “F,” has a large, beautiful, well-established garden and she’s been giving us plants for several years.  We had to tuck them into what we called a nursery bed because we knew house construction would disrupt everything around the future house.  F gave us even more perennials this summer.  And this past weekend she brought an entire carload to our housewarming–something like a dozen boxes and bags, including some of my favorites like bee balm (three different colors!) and two enormous (and ancient) peonies.

Given that fall is here, it was time to get the plants in the ground asap with the hope that they have enough time to settle in and establish roots before our long, cold winters.  Yesterday I spent nine hours (!) planting–and, well, doing everything before the actual planting: Ron rototilled, I removed big rocks, Ron helped fill in our driveway with said rocks, bringing back big wheelbarrows of compost after dumping the rocks, and then (and only then) could I plant.  In the ideal world we would have repeated the rototill/rock removal/add compost process another time, but the plants really couldn’t wait.  I managed to get everything planted except for one bag of day lilies.  I also managed to finish transplanting what remained in the nursery bed.  In a single day, our landscaping beds approximately doubled in size.  Thank you, F!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was Vegetable Gardening day.  There are still a lot of vegies in the garden, although some of my favorites are gone or on their way out.  I pulled the green beans two weeks ago (boo hoo), the basil is starting to turn brown (also boo hoo), and we won’t get many more tomatoes (still more boo hoo).  But the pepper plants are pulling a fall rally and there are a lot of carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi, kale, and chard plus the butternut squash plants went nuts this year.  I keep meaning to count the squash out there.  Fall lettuce is almost pickable, too.

After harvesting some basil, chard, kale, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, and the first cabbage this morning, time to process vegies:

  • put on a small batch of yellow tomato salsa (a little silly to can only 4 pints of salsa,  but we did not end up with as much salsa (or spaghetti sauce) as I had hoped so I wanted to maximize our yield)
  • washed and roasted beets that had been sitting in the fridge for 10 days
  • washed “old” carrots that had also been in the fridge for a week+, grated them, along with kohlrabi, and turned them into grated root vegetable salad for the week
  • somewhere in there, made pasta with zucchini, garlic, red chile flakes, and parmesan for lunch
  • washed kale, chard, and “new” carrots, and shoved them in the fridge for the week
  • washed, cleaned, and froze a tray of bell peppers with anaheims and others waiting
  • and, last but not least, turned most of the aging apples from our apple CSA into a pie (!), but, as always, cut corners with a premade crust

As is often the case with big gardening days, I’m too pooped to make dinner.  I always find it amusing when we eat frozen pizza (or “crispy pizza,” according to our stove!) or go out to eat when we’ve just harvested and processed bags and bags of organic vegetables, but there are limits.

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One Response to epic fall gardening

  1. Lisa says:

    This sounds AMAZING Sara. I am so impressed with your harvest… and love reading all about it.

    Have a great week!

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