Category Archives: fall/winter crops

Harvesting & Healthy Soil

When both pantry and freezer fill up, it’s time to make soup! Make enough to share and sit down with younger folks who just might want to learn a little more about growing and cooking.

Tuscan Bean Soup With Black Kale

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 organic lemon, juiced, rind grated
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bulb fennel with greens, chopped
2 sweet carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups cooked white cannellini beans (or any kind)
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch Black Tuscan kale, cut in ribbons

In a soup pot, combine oil, fennel seed, half the garlic, the lemon rind, pepper flakes, onion, fennel (reserve 1/4 cup chopped greens), and carrots, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium high heat until barely soft (8-10 minutes). Add beans and broth, bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Puree in small batches with remaining garlic and return to pan. Add kale and pepper, cover pan and cook until barely wilted (2-3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice to taste and serve hot, garnished with fennel greens. Serves 4.

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Posted in Annual Color, fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ready For Fall, Y’all?

As my early beets are fattening up, we’re eating them almost daily, boiled, roasted, or raw. In my book, few summer treats are as delicious as a raw beet salad lively with spunky sweet onions and the lush sweetness of ripe fruit. Naturally, along with the usual autumn crops I’m planting youngster beets to bring me more bounty this fall. Golden and tender, Boldor keeps its pretty color when cooked, and youngsters taste sweet enough to use raw in salads, grated or sliced thinly and tossed with bitter greens. Sliced crosswise, Chioggia, the classic Italian striped beet, displays concentric circles of red and white that look beautiful on the plate. The pattern is most dramatic on smaller beets, so harvest them when they’re about 2 inches across if you want to wow your friends with a stunning raw salad. Like what? So glad you asked! Continue reading

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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

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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