Category Archives: fall/winter crops

Time To Plant Cool Season Starts

Long considered peasant food, kale boasts dozens of beautiful, tasty forms that can be harvested pretty much year round. Over the past decade, kale won a place in the trendiest of kitchens, especially in gorgeous forms such as Beira, a Portugese Sea Kale with large, tender leaves of jade green ribbed in ivory. The thick ribs are as crisp as celery, while the leaves, sliced into chiffonade, are delicious in soups and stir fries. Brilliant grass green Prizm won awards when introduced in 2016 and no wonder; the almost stemless, super curly, cut-and-come-again leaves are excellent raw or cooked. I also love Oregon-bred Dazzling Blue, partly because I like the song (thanks, Paul Simon) but mostly because it’s amazing; blue-green foliage with bright pink ribs tastes as sweet as its lacinato parents. Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Planting & Transplanting, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Plants To Lust After

Last summer I got to try out a new sauce tomato called ‘Saucy Lady’, a cuore di bue type that “melts” into robust sauces when cooked, skins and all. The flavor is just about perfect for a sauce tomato; full bodied and rich with just enough tartness to keep it tasting lively even when cooked and canned. A rather amazing tomato called ‘Get Stuffed!’ has no guts; the stippled red-and-tawny-gold skin covers a sturdy, cup-shaped container for your favorite stuffing mixtures. Slice the top off, fill ‘em up with what have you and bake them until bubbly, or stuff them with salad (pasta or chickpea) for a very pretty brunch dish. As an ardent gardener with very little space these days, I’m especially intrigued by a new category of tomato, the 3-4 foot dwarf indeterminates. Any of this new Super Dwarf series will thrive even in large containers and as we saw last year, they really do continue fruiting well into autumn. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, fall/winter crops, Growing Berry Crops, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working With Family Relationships

It’s also useful to know that some family cycles are particularly beneficial. For instance, both legumes and nightshades do particularly well when planted where sweet corn recently grew. Conversely, it’s less productive for squash family members to follow tomatoes and vice versa, probably because both need lots of calcium. (Our Northwestern soils tend to be calcium poor anyway, so both these crops will benefit when you spray the foliage with diluted skim milk. A 10% solution of 1 part skim milk powder mixed with water works well and won’t clog most sprayers.) Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Barrel Full Of Beans

For the very best beans, brine them overnight in cold, salted water, rinse them well, then cook them in plain water. I learned this sweet trick from master foodie Harold McGee, author of On Food And Cooking; the science and lore of the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite go-to resources when I can’t figure out why something kitchen related isn’t working the way I think it should. McGee has written extensively about all kinds of foods, including beans, and he says that many factors can cause beans to turn out tough, hard, or mushy. Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, preserving food, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments