Friday, November 10, 2017

The No Work Winter Garden

Are we programmed to start craving pumpkin this time of year, or is it just all the propaganda that hits us in the face when we enter Trader Joe's? I don't know where all the mango stuff goes, but there must be one night sometime in late September when Trader Joe's employees stay up all hours replacing the mango-centric foods with pumpkin-powered everything. I have no complaints, I'm allergic to mangoes, but come Fall I run on pumpkin.

November is that wonderful time of year when the nights are longer, but not too long. The days are cooler, but not too cold. And the sunlight doesn't hit our living room floor in such a way as to show all the dog fur, especially at the exact time a visitor stops by. Yes, we are in that glorious season when the sun is at the perfect angle for not revealing the hairy state of our hardwood floors. Can it just be Fall always?

Just when we are about ready to throw all the summer tomatoes at someone, perhaps the dog, and when we're all out of ideas of what to do with canoe-sized zucchini, along comes the joys of Fall produce. The sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, apples. persimmons and pomegranates are ready for their time in the waning sunlight. Not as luscious as summer fruits and veggies, what they lack in looks they make up for in heartiness. I love to make piles of autumn produce and see what happens when they all start getting to know each other. 

Almost squished by the squash...

...Ginger Bear becomes the mascot of Team Tubers.

If this doesn't say borscht what does?

I see curry in a hurry.
3 minutes tops for sweet potato curry in the Instant Pot. 

Persimmons need to get the same agent as pumpkins have.
I see Persimmon Spice Lattes as the next new thing.

Ginger Bear survived the curry stew.
But how long he can last into winter remains to be seen.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk.
It's like Jack and the Beanstalk grew a strand of DNA.

This is soup season.
Bean soup season.
Hearty bean soup season.
With all this cooking of vegetables I adore and crave, it behooves me why I never do a fall/winter garden. We have the weather for it. We have the little garden space for it. What's not to like about almost free kale and spinach and piles of cheap potatoes? Mostly it's because I want to be on the inside looking out in winter, not going out to save lettuce being crushed under the onslaught of a hail storm. When it's cold outside, I just want to be inside getting warm, not worrying about the garden. That's what Trader Joe does, and he does it so well.

But just for fun, and with the understanding that the only water the seeds would get is the kind from the sky and not the hose, I planted three things this winter.

Artichokes, because they are so pretty.

Beets, because something that color must be good for us.

And Pak Choi.
Because I thought it was called Bok Choy.
I like being corrected when I'm wrong.

Winter garden, before planting.

Winter garden, after planting.
Can you just sense the effort I put in?