Hey guys, I did it! I unlocked the Prepare the Garden For Winter achievement!
The weather this week has been beautiful, sunny, and mild so I resolved to take advantage of what are surely our final nice days to complete all of the garden chores that have been nagging me. I don’t know about you but I hate doing messy, wet garden work and soil digging while dressed like the Michelin Man and wearing cold weather gloves (not work gloves). Cold weather is often a deterrent to getting out into the garden and getting things done. It is a happy day when I can work outside for hours at a time wearing only a hat, a fall jacket, and no gloves.
- The garlic is in! And not too soon as I was growing tired of worrying about it. I still have a few more bulbs that I could put in if the desire strikes me, but I don’t need to. I love that everything from here on out is a bonus. I planted Elephant Garlic as well. The 2012 crop did so well that I thought I would experiment with growing it in a few different conditions to see how it can be better protected but also pushed.
Yep, I’m behind. As always. No new story here. It is November 15 and I am yet to plant my garlic. I have been here before. In fact, there was that year that I didn’t get garlic in at all.
As I write this, there is a total of six cloves in the ground. That’s not six full bulbs. No I mean, a mere six cloves. One, two, three, four, five, six. I put them in at lunchtime, which was about six minutes ago.
Last spring we made a big change to the structure of our garden which resulted in a new perennial bed. Since the perennials were still quite small and lacklustre, I made use of the gaps and filled them in with an assortment of seeds including annual flowers, herbs, and greens. All of the plants I put in were in the black/maroon/burgundy colour palette.
In the summer I tucked some Italian radicchio (Cichorium intybus) seeds underneath the tomatillos and pretty much forgot about them until this beautiful, sprawling rosette appeared and threatened to suffocate some of the succulents that make up the bed’s border. The variety in this photo is ‘Rossa di Verona.’ The entire rosette is a massive 20″ wide! Radicchio are pretty, edible, and surprisingly cold tolerant. In fact, dark varieties like this one reach their deepest, best colour in the fall. It makes me wonder why radicchio do not show up in the fall/winter garden alongside ornamental cabbages and chrysanthemums?
As an experiment I intend to cut the heads when these are ready, but leave the root and old leaves to keep growing. Some radicchio varieties have overwintered in my garden before, so it will be interesting to see if this variety comes back.
We shuffled all of the remaining houseplants inside last Friday just before the hard frost returned. And so began the arduous process of stuffing potted plants into windows and underneath lights in preparation for a long winter indoors.
This year I decided to go for an all succulent mix in my office window, which wasn’t difficult given how many I have. I haven’t counted, but my best guess is TOO MANY. I usually put most of the agave into this prime spot where I can see them at a glance from my desk chair all winter long. However, this year I decided to mix things up a bit and have instead situated my new collection of unusual opuntia within reach.
A few of my tender paddle cactus (opuntia).
Chances are good that a few of the smaller plants will end up in the basement should the windowsill get too cold and draughty come mid-winter. I also plan to move this year’s Offfice Tomato Experiment 2012/13 once it gets too cold in the unheated front porch “greenhouse.”
Here we are again folks. It’s too many green tomatoes time!
Friends, I was smart and totally on top of my shit this year. I picked away at the harvest in manageable chunks rather than frantically hauling them all inside at once. But today, with the high winds and heavy rains of hurricane Sandy looming, I decided it was time to bring in as many as possible or risk loosing what remains. And so I trudged out there, dressed in boots and wind-resitant gear, basket and shears in hand, mere minutes before the weather turned nasty. I pulled in a boatload of the largest under-ripe fruit from what remained on the vines. Only the currants and a few small cherry varieties were left behind.
So far this season I’ve made:
- zucchini and green tomato relish
- green cherry tomatoes pickled in tarragon and lemon peel
- sweet peppery pickled tomatoes
- dill pickled green cherry tomatoes
- fried green tomatoes
- roasted green tomatoes
- 2 lbs of green tomatoes are sweating in bowls of salt as I write this. They will be made into 2 more types of pickle.