I’d like to say that late July (when all of the spring plantings are in full swing) is my favorite time of year for seasonal produce, but I’m realizing that this is just not true. September is gently rolling in, and with it my early fall vegetables. I am absolutely loving the cooler mornings to work in the garden, the tiny sprouts growing every day from the seeds that I feel like I just planted yesterday, and what’s more, it seems like many of my plantings from the spring or mid-summer are having a renaissance of sorts! My pole beans and bush beans seem to be getting new growth and producing even more flowers and subsequent beans! My watermelons (when in July/August looked spent) are beginning to produce even more baby melons than their first run. Is this what we might call a bumper crop? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m loving the combination of my favorite summer veggies (beans, okra, carrots, chard, melons) mingling with the much-anticipated fall harvest of radishes, beets, kale, spinach, lettuce, turnips, kohlrabi, peas and more beans.
I can’t seem to stay away from my favorite garden supply store (5th Season) to pick up new seeds (from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange). With the weather coming in later in the week in the mid-70s, it will be an absolute perfect time to plant even more fast-growing lettuces and root vegetables. I’m trying to hold off on getting too much this week because this weekend is the amazing Heritage Harvest Festival, which is a perfect event at Monticello that combines TJ’s love of food, gardening and history. We went last year (with a newborn and two sick boys) so I’m really looking forward to stopping in and having an even better time this year! I love getting new ideas there and stocking up on heirloom seeds and plants.
In the kitchen, you may have noticed that I’ve been having fun with my micro greens, carrots tops for pesto, dried beans, fresh beans, rainbow chard, okra and melons. My cucumbers and tomatoes are dwindling, and sadly I’ve had to accept that it may be time for us to move on! That said, I’ve still got plenty of fermented tomatoes and cukes from the height of the season, so I’m not really spending that much time missing them! My stores should last through to next year when it’s time to plant and harvest again, and so is the way of the year-round local produce plan. Check out my Fermentation post for a recipe!
I’ve mainly been fermented practically everything. In fact, I typically hold on to about 1/8th of each day’s harvest for breakfast/lunch/dinner. The rest gets “put up” as they say. With the only problem being that I’m running out of jars. I’d say this means that we’ve had a successful year.
Some things I’m looking forward to:
Unearthing my sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), and horseradish to see how they did
English peas and my other shelling beans (white Italian beans, big red rippers, black eye peas, red limas, green limas)
Broccoli and cauliflower
Lettuces (Romaine, bibb, buttercrunch, red butterhead, arugula, spinach)
Root veggies like kohlrabi, turnips, beets and radishes
Happy Eating & Gardening, everyone!