Well, that was a false alarm!
You heard it from us (and all the weather guessers in the media) – we were going to have our first freeze, possibly a hard freeze, late last week. As my friend Elise put it, after harvesting all of her dahlia blooms, tomatoes, etc., “Huh?”.
In fact, Mikl and I did clear counter space and we did spend all day Thursday harvesting, cutting down and cleaning up much of our vegetable garden, and starting up the dehydrator to dry what seemed like thousands of tomatoes. And we hauled in all the houseplants that spent the summer outside. Our winter squash harvest was remarkable, especially considering that the bed where they were planted had been neglected most of the season, with only 3 or 4 intentional waterings.
I found Winter Luxury pumpkins, Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert Buttercup squashes, kabochas and delicatas hiding in nearly impenetrable jungles of giant foliage and snaking, scratchy stems. Today, I finally figured out a way to properly ‘cure’ them for a few days at 80 to 90 degrees, in my car, parked in the sun! Curing hardens the skins and enables winter squash to be stored for several months without rotting.
Mikl was inspired to pick all of the scarlet runner bean pods, most of which were still green and immature, and make something with them. We found a recipe in Rosalind Creasy’s 1988 ‘Cooking from the Garden’ for a fresh runner bean soup, and made a huge pot of it, which we now can’t fit in the freezer. By this time most years, the beans have matured and I collect them for use as a dry bean. They are the most stunning beans of all, huge, shiny black splashed with pink!
In this extended summer, we can continue to garden. Gardening is such a sweet, positive, and meaningful thing to do in this time of great suffering and upheaval around the globe.
Now is the time to begin planting garlic and flowering bulbs, of which we have a wonderful, diverse selection.
We can add life to our soil by top-dressing with organic fertilizers and compost (and our large bags of these products are still in stock and still 30% off)! We can still plant most perennials and shrubs, including many native plants, which are also still available at 30% off. Personally, I almost never have the opportunity to plant perennials or shrubs until October or November, and I have had great success with nearly everything I’ve planted in the fall. Winter watering is the key. I usually wait until temperatures are cooler and skies are cloudier, and plant when rain is expected shortly after planting. But I don’t know about relying on those weather-guessers….
Whatever the weather, Our annual, month-long Holiday Gift Market is open through October 29th, (pictured above) and it is the perfect place to warm up and enjoy perusing the work of many local artists and artisans. From art for the home to personal adornment, from gardening gifts to delicious treats for foodies, you’ll find unique and beautiful items — from the natural world and crafted by human hands. And with any Holiday Market purchase you can enter our drawing for our weekly giveaway of three $20 gift certificates!