Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'm glad I started sprouting alfalfa indoors a couple of days ago. It's time for a winter diet!
This morning, having heard a snowy prediction, I harvested pac choi and chinese cabbage for tomorrow's dinner. I usually harvest just before eating, but one day in the frig will yield me more vitamins than most Americans get from their greens. The pac choi is looking ready to hibernate. They've had a good yield recently along the fence, but the past 48 hours have seen a major change in the garden. Their parent protected the vines that yielded some sugar snap peas last spring, so I'm hoping its many offspring will flourish again when the weather warms in time to give me a decent yield of peas even if the anti-woodchuck plants aren't as effective as promised. There are many more this year, scattered in sensible places, so they may be.
Meanwhile, it's time to start picking chinese cabbage from the cold frame for a dinner of fresh stir-fry greens every three evenings for the next three months. This morning I closed both cold frames and put a large plastic sheet over the one with the mature chinese cabbage. Chip suggested this, and it works. I remove (brush or shovel) the snow, and then can open the cold frame for Wednesday's dinner. Until he suggested the plastic, the frame would be frozen shut for days at a time. The plastic keeps out the snow and ice.

I also thoroughly picked the arugula. Much of it looks the way I would if I had spent the recent two nights as it did, but some is still edible. I picked that. I don't know whether it will revive in March, but I think I'll leave it undisturbed and find out. If I have the opportunity, I may cover some of it with floating cover.
I covered the meager senior collard plant with floating cover this morning. I thought I wouldn't be able to put the "fixers" in the ground, but I could. I hope the green worms that make lace of collards die over the winter, and the plants survive. They have survived without floating cover in the past, but usually from a stronger start.

Inside I still have tomatoes in the frig for salads. It looks like they will last beyond Christmas this year, which is unprecedented. When they are gone, I will begin harvesting carrots. A few days ago I covered the carrots, parsnips, and Jerusalem artichokes with plastic bags of leaves, so they will be available all winter.
I have lettuce growing in my green house window, so there will be some leafy green to supplement the bean sprouts and carrots for winter salads. I have one valiant kale plant that will provide greens for some salads. When I was raising kids, I had lots of kale (before those green worms found us!) and served it raw for salad greens all winter long. It is much sweeter fresh in the winter than you might think from summer
harvests or purchases. I'd break off leaves and let them thaw, of course, before serving them in a salad.

Guess what I ate in the garden today? Yup! One last raspberry. It wasn't sweet, but it was as red as a raspberry should be, and it was welcome in my mouth. Change is happening.


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