My busy season in the shop is well underway, leaving me very little time for experiments in the kitchen. In desperate need of some therapy, I decided to spend a little time in my fall garden the other evening. I love fall gardening, and I’m always a little amazed that most gardeners don’t take advantage of this time to extend their growing season. There are quite a few vegetables that thrive on the cooler temperatures leading into winter.
Here in northern Indiana spring jumped to hot summer temperatures so quickly that my snow peas did not do well. However, a late summer planting resulted in beautiful peas that were ready to pick this week. The variety is Oregon Sugar Pod II. I just love the way the vines end in these little twisty curls!
Another veggie I love to plant for fall harvesting, and also for overwintering, is spinach. Unfortunately, I have nothing to show because my neighbor’s roaming German Shepherd dug it up ….. twice! I replanted after she dug it up the first time, and within a couple of days she came back and dug up the seed bed.
I tried a new vegetable this year, and I’ve learned a lot. I sowed Florence Fennel seed directly in the garden early this spring, but the bulbs didn’t develop very well. After some reading I discovered it might perform better if planted early to late summer so the bulbs could form and mature in cooler weather. I went ahead and planted some seed about mid summer, but the plants are still small. Next year I’ll try planting earlier. I use fennel in place of celery when I cook, but it’s rather expensive in the markets in my area. I have two reasons for using fennel. First, I think celery is an evil, vile tasting thing. Secondly, my husband is allergic to celery.
My basil had a wonderful year. It’s has been lush and prolific, thriving in the sweltering heat this summer. I’ve frozen boatloads of pesto, and have been sending it home with friends and family by the bushel. Really, I’m not kidding…. literal bushels! Because it’s threatening to go to seed, and harboring hope that I might find one more chance to make another batch of pesto, I decided to cut it back one last time. Look who I found guarding my basil! Isn’t he beautiful?