Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 Gardening in Review

Last January, I made several gardening resolutions.  Here they are:
  1. I will plant fewer "salad greens" that only end up feeding the slugs. 
  2. I will can, freeze, or otherwise preserve everything we can't eat fresh.  Even that last harvest of green beans which just kept on producing in 2010.
  3. I will begin to vermicompost before the year's end.
  4. I will buy and use a decent composting bin to replace what my husband believes is my "compost eyesore" 
  5. I will always amend soil before planting in a new location (see #3 & 4).
  6. I will not overcrowd my perennial gardens!
  7. I will make pesto instead of allowing all of those lovely herb leaves to be destroyed with the first frost.
  8. I will weed more often! (one can always hope)
Five out of eight ain't too bad!  I did not do 3, 4 or 7.  But that's ok, that's what next year is for!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Something's Cookin'

Tomorrow, my coworkers get to taste the delicious treats my garden shared this fall.  In the crockpot, I have Goat & Beer Vegetable Soup cooking with onions, carrots, and potatoes from the garden along with some goat stew meat, a can of beef broth, minced garlic, spices (thyme, salt, pepper and two bay leaves) and a bottle of beer.  It's "Crockpot Monday" at work and we take turns bringing in lunch to share.  It's a way to get everyone in the faculty lounge and it's something to look forward to on an otherwise uneventful Monday.  I'm also bringing a back-up soup, Red Pepper Tomato Soup, just in case the goat doesn't go over well.  Though one thing I appreciate about this group of people is that there are several hunter/gatherer/gardeners among us.  You usually have to ask what the meat is because it's not always identifiable in that lounge.  This year we've had elk, bear, venison, goose, and now goat to go along with the usual chicken, port and beef.  If the recipe is a hit, I'll share.  Though it may be hard to tell, there is a saying about food in a teachers' lounge.

Here's another measure of how much I enjoy these people I work with:  I used the last of my canned tomatoes for the soup!  This year's harvest wasn't as good as last.  But I also made salsa and pizza sauce this year, which I hadn't last year.  The pizza sauce was a winner - all fourteen pints of that have already been used!  The salsa, not so much.  I just can't find a salsa recipe that I'm excited for, I guess.  I have about ten quarts of spaghetti sauce in the freezer, and we use about a quart a week, so not too many weeks left of the good stuff! 

One of my gardening resolutions last year was to use all of the harvest and not let anything go to waste.  I'm proud to say we did just that!  Though it may be too soon to report on the potatoes, I still have a basement full!

How did I do on my other gardening resolutions?  I'll think about that tomorrow....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Winter Walk

Winter Road on a Sunny Afternoon
Winter always puts me in a funk, but if I could see beyond it, there is a lot of beauty in the season.  I happened to pull out my phone and take a few pictures on my afternoon walk.  The temperature was a brisk 23 degrees.  We have had a very dry fall.  Usually we have a few inches of snow on the ground this time of year.  This dusting was just from the overnight.

A very sunny Shade Garden
We also stopped by Rita's to take a peek at our vegetable garden but I just couldn't bring myself to take a picture.  It's strange to think how land that is so fertile and verdant in the summer can be so barren and cold just a few short months later.
Rabbit and Deer Tracks - I wonder which came first
I wish I could learn to love winter.  Maybe I need to solicit the advice of other northern gardeners to see how they cope in the gardening off-season.