Monday, December 06, 2010

Garden Journal 12/6/10: Eating Greens & Getting Organized

And Giving Away a $250 Best Buy Gift Card!

Mulching the garlic bed in the kitchen garden on 11-13-10
Mulching the Garlic Bed on 11-13-10

Realization of the Day:
December! Wow. December.

Realization #2:
Long time no garden blogging.

I'm not really sure where November went, but I do have photographic evidence that exciting progress was made in the garden. The bed for the garlic was nicely amended, the garlic was planted (actually that was done back in October—on time!), the garlic bed was mulched, and I even managed to score a new raised bed in the process (not the one pictured above).

We enjoyed salads nearly every November night, freshly snipped from the bed of eight types of Asian greens I planted back on September 11th (salads sans lettuce are often the most interesting!). At dusk on Friday November 26th, with temperatures threatening to drop into the low teens, I frantically harvested everything left (which was a lot) in that bed, along with the disappointing contents of that second raised bed I planted on September 23rd. (I have plans to write more about all this fall planting, including a bunch of stuff I learned, but if you've been following this blog for very long, you know that even though I hvae the best intentions, there's a good chance I'll never get to it. I'm hoping that 2011 is the year I catch up with both the garden and garden blogging, but of course I've said that before!)

Lacking enough refrigerator space, I just stuffed all the greens into plastic bags and put them in a cooler in The Shack's very cold pantry, which basically turns into a giant (and handy!) walk-in refrigerator this time of year. I even remembered to label each variety so I can figure out which ones I want to grow again.

I also picked most of the volunteer Swiss chard that was thriving in the greenhouse—which filled its own large cooler—and then yesterday went back and picked another big bag of Swiss chard, as well as a nice big bunch of volunteer arugula (I always forget how big the leaves get when given plenty of space), and most of the sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and lemon balm. It's all still sitting in colanders in the pantry—but at least it's not outside.

It was 19°F this morning, which was surprising because we expected about 10°. The lowest we've had so far is 15°. Winter is definitely on the way. There's even a chance of snow this weekend. There's lots I'd still like to do in the garden and the greenhouse, but with blustery days with highs in the 30s, I may opt for curling up with that growing stack of seed catalogs instead. (Do they seem to arrive earlier each year or what?) Or who knows—I may even do some more garden blogging.

In the meantime, BlogHer (my publishing network), and I are giving away a $250 Best Buy gift card to one Farmgirl Fare reader! I was chosen to review a laptop computer with the new Intel® Core™ i5 processor, and it's already helped me get organized in the kitchen. Maybe the garden is next.

You can enter the $250 gift card giveaway on both my first review post and my second review post. Nineteen other bloggers are also giving away $250 Best Buy gift cards, and BlogHer is giving away four laptops. The contests end December 22nd, and all the details are here. Good luck!

So how was your fall growing season? Did anything from the garden grace your Thanksgiving table? Is anything still going on in your garden now? Any seeds ordered yet?

©, the turtlenecking foodie farm blog where the peppery zing of yesterday's freshly picked volunteer arugula was (with the help of some freshly grated Pecorino Romano, a few kalamata olives, and a drizzle of Easy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing) the perfect accompaniment to a hearty dinner of Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, and Rosemary and rice. And a glass of red wine of course.


  1. I enjoy reading your blog very much and I am glad to hear that you were able to harvest so much out of your fall garden. Being in the San Francisco Bay area, I don't think that the Fall garden stops before it is time to plant for spring. I am harvesting swiss chard, kale, arugula, and beets. The onions, garlic, red cabbage, peas of various kinds, and fava beans are growing well. Thanks for inspiring me to plant garlic! I even have a couple of grape tomatoes and figs slowly ripening.

  2. At Thanksgiving we ate radishes and arugula in our salad from my small hoop house. I live in southern New Hampshire.

  3. LOTS of seeds ordered (I'm a junkie), and here's what my winter garden is up to:

  4. So how was your fall growing season? We got some carrots, lost some lettuce. Nothing much, just enough for a salad. I think our season is over, but we can start planning for spring!

  5. I still need to mulch my garlic bed. That's on my list of things to do.

  6. From the garden to the Thanksgiving table: leeks, potatoes, butternut squash, and some herbs for the trout. (We did have a turkey, but we always have a fish too if my husband catches one right before Thanksgiving--he usually does.)

    Still in the garden are some late-planted beets, carrots, and potatoes that OOPS should have been dug up before it snowed six inches. Plus leeks and parsnips that I never did get covered with leaves so add that to the list of things this year that I meant to do and never got to; chard that may be dead after our very cold nights and lots of snow; and the seriously hardy collard greens.

  7. Mary from MadisonDecember 07, 2010 7:27 PM

    Try the arugula with roasted corn( or toasted in a cast iron skillet since grilling season for corn is past), kalamata olives, very thinly sliced red onion, garlic smashed and added to olive oil and lemon juice and topped with freshly grated parmesan....I must make dinner sooooon...

  8. I still have beets, spinach,lettuce, and carrots outside, thought we have had a low of 12F here in the middle of New Mexico. Blankets have kept the garden still growing so far.

    I dug up most of my potatoes for Thanksgiving and made a huge vat of garlic mashed potatoes (with garlic from the garden as well). We will see how much longer the garden lasts since I started ignoring it.

    (Oh and the wine from our one vine in the garden--One Vine Wine--is chilling outside as I type, same with the prickly pear mead)

  9. lurker here..LOVE your blog!
    We enjoyed tomatoes from the greenhouse with our Thanksgiving salad! All gone now but it was great to have fresh veggies (tomatoes & peppers) through the end of November!

  10. I have some sparse Swiss Chard still feebly standing in my garden. In mid-November I pulled in a ridiculous amount of habaneros just in time before a frost.

  11. My last planting of lettuce is growing slooooooly. They're too tiny to cut. Single digits frost burned them a bit (they're in a cold frame) but we've had warmer days and all seem to have survived. We're still riping tomatoes on the kitchen counter and eating them.

  12. Looks like the garlic will be well-covered and comfy until they're grown! What did you use for mulch? I live in the suburbs, and it's hard to come by anything but dried grass clippings and mowed leaves, unless you want to buy something from the store. . .which I try to avoid when possible.

  13. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks for all the interesting comments!

    Yes, the garlic should be snug as a bug in a rug this winter. We experimented this year and mulched the garlic bed with alternating layers of chopped dried leaves and dry manure bedding hay from the sheep barn.

    The leaves came from the lawn (I use that word loosely, LOL) - Joe ran over them with the lawn mower, which chopped them up nicely, and then emptied the bags of leaves (with a little grass mixed in) into the work cart, which was then emptied onto the raised bed. The manure hay layers (which is what we usually use) were much thicker than the layers of leaves. Even though the leaves were dry, we didn't want to have them form a matted layer.

    I don't purchase mulch either. And I'll use whatever I can find - including weeds I've just pulled up out of the ground! :)


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!