Winter has arrived. Perhaps you noticed.
What a difference in the garden from just this past Saturday, when I sat out in it comfortably talking with a guest! Greens that stood up proudly then have lain down. The carrot tops that looked like the ones in the store but more so no longer look like they are trying to feed the roots.
This means it's time to put the plastic bags of leaves down on top of the carrots and parsnips to keep them warm for the winter. This is a sizable job, but now accomplished. This year had the new quirk that I had packed all those plastic bags myself (because others are using paper bags), so I was critical of how they had been packed as I took them from the other side of the driveway to the garden. Isn't it interesting how the human conscience finds ever-new ways to annoy us?
The best culinary part of the week was the two meals of collards (with the traditional Italian recipe), the only two probably this fall. Yum! They have been attacked by some bug I haven't seen, but I've covered them with floating cover for winter, so maybe I'll get more delicious collard meals in March.
We also had our last two meals of the season's pac choi, picked before they lay down, but that's not so sad because we will now start eating Chinese cabbage from the cold frame. I've kept the cold frame closed the past few days because the temperature hasn't peeked above freezing. Today I should give them some fresh air in midday.
We now swing into our winter diet. The refrigerator freezer is packed, so it doesn't look like we will go hungry during January and February. By March I will be harvesting (I hope) collards and maybe other newcomers from the garden.
The first crop of lettuce from the greenhouse window is ready to harvest and delicious. I have been alternating for salads with arugula that I picked before the below-20 weather. I still have enough tomatoes so that it appears we'll be eating them at least until Christmas. They taste fine, and occasionally one reminds me of summer. I won't begin harvesting carrots from the garden until the tomatoes are gone, so it appears I'll have plenty of carrots for an abundant winter.
The second crop of winter lettuce is over 2" high, and I will start a third by Sunday. This has worked in previous years for a steady supply of winter lettuce from the greenhouse window. Yesterday I started my first jar of alfalfa sprouts, which complement my winter salads. Yesterday we ate the last of fresh peppers and today we will finish the fresh celery. I have plenty of frozen peppers and refrigerated celery leaves; both will flavor the many stir-fries in our winter eating.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying preparations for Christmas, when both my kids come home. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season too! Soon we will have more sun again, but we know the cold is here to stay a while.