September 23, 2013

Winter garden

I am serious this year, about growing a winter garden. Last year I kind of dabbled by putting in some kale and broccoli and covering the plants with winter blanket when it froze, and was amazed that plants survived hard freezes.

Scaling down the size of the summer garden helped. Rather than planting all the beds, I left 5 of them empty and amended the soil as time permitted, so there was no agonizing over having to pull still producing plants in our long (compared to PNW) growing season. There still is plenty of growing and eating of summer vegetables.

I was inspired by Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest and did my best doing succession planting for both the summer and winter garden. This resulted in having cantaloupes from July until now and having beans (just enough for a meal a week), with plants still producing.

Here are the winter beds. Most of the veggies are leafy: Asian greens, lettuces, spinach, various kale varieties, cabbages and escarole, but also green onions and carrots. Everything is well protected but still some mice managed to get in and nibble the growing tip from some plants, and I had to reseed. Currently all appears quiet on the rodent front now. Knock on wood.

September 14, 2013


I planted dill in the garden to attract swallowtail butterflies, not being a fan of the herb myself. But I should have remembered, they like parsley better too! Gathering some sprigs to add to cooking, I found a swallowtail caterpillar on one of the leaves.

In previous years I have repeated my childhood science experiment and put the caterpillar with parsley sprigs in a jar, covered it with wax paper perforated for ventilation and put it on the counter to wait for the butterfly to be born. It is just amazing to watch this transformation. Mom is Magic.

I picked the caterpillar on Labor Day, it cocooned 4 days later and 7 days after that, voila. After we released it from the jar it sat on the patio table for about 15 minutes, then took off into beautiful fall weather.

Meanwhile, a second caterpillar hatched on parsley I had brought in for Number One to munch on, so we are having a double dose of magic this year.

September 8, 2013

A special morning

The morning walk was beautiful today: a sunrise illuminating sheets of rain all around. Emma and I got sprinkled on, but the real rain waited until we were home.

We had gingerbread pancakes with pear sauce for breakfast while enjoying the rain in front of open windows and doors and watching the hummingbird migration go on unabated.

Garden minestrone and corn bread for dinner sounds like a great dinner for a day like today. A bit of fall is in the air.

September 3, 2013

Thank you, Monsoons!

Good rains this summer, and it is great to be able to take the horses out for a little noshing.

Bueno likes a lot of variety in his grass, so he got the patch behind the barn.

Cody and Buggs in the "pond", which is filling in nicely with mostly Bermuda.