Fall Garden Update

We got our first real frost last night, right on schedule (our average first frost date is 9/13). I was able to start cleaning out the garden this morning; with the huge tomato plants out of the way we can finally walk around a bit. Now I have a ton of green tomatoes!

I took these photos a few weeks ago, in part to help me draw up where I put everything this year. Soon I’ll be tallying just how much I harvested this year and planning out next year’s garden.

 

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The Gardens

This year we have a small collection of gardens. I tend to refer to them as the Upper Garden, which were 2 former pig pens, and the Large Garden. The Large Garden was a section of field I covered with the goat barn’s contents when I cleaned it out last fall. I covered it with plastic over the winter. Definitely much easier than double-digging!

Here’s section 1 of the Upper Garden as of last week (see this post for an early May view):

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We’ve been enjoying a lot of kale….

DSCN6810and several plantings of radishes out of here. The boys love to pretend they’re rabbits and raid the garden. They like the kale but radishes are the rabbits’ favorite. Thank goodness they grow so fast.

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This section also has broccoli (which I’m in the process of thinning and planting into the Large garden) and peas.

DSCN6849 DSCN6847 The second section of the Upper Gardens has carrots, spinach, bush beans, lettuce, beets, parsley, cucumbers, basil, onions and a few tomatoes. The lettuce, parsley and onions need to be thinned soon. DSCN6796 DSCN6797 DSCN6798 DSCN6799As for the large garden, well, I had to fence and replant it due to the chickens.

DSCN6504The kids and I had a garden party and planted a bunch of starter plants my MIL and a family friend gave us. I’ve seeded a few areas too. In the blue plastic we’ve planted a bunch of pumpkins from my folks.

Singapore’s pen borders the Large garden. She’s good company and her roof is a great hang out spot for little ones.

DSCN6820 DSCN6821 Now we have tomatoes, peppers, celeriac, potatoes, basil, swiss chard, arugula, carrots, bush beans,cauliflower, broccoli, pole beans, melons ( watermelon & ? from the worm compost bin) and a whole mess of pumpkins. A few more things need to go in, like the celery from the cold frame, and of course, the fall plantings.

Everything is growing fast!

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In the Kitchen {Breakfast}

Breakfast has always been my most favorite meal of the day – both to eat and cook. None the less sometimes a little inspiration is needed and I’ve been finding The Art of Breakfast by Dana Moos full ideas and delicious recipes. I can only dream of having a full breakfast the inn she kept and served breakfast at.

DSCN3008Recently our mornings have been full of sweet crepes (with blueberry topping) and goats milk to cut the sweetness:

DSCN2883DSCN2889And various renditions of Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Dana’s recipe is for a large Bundt pan but we have been dividing it, based on the amount of ingredients I have on hand. First the boys and I tried a quarter batch filling it with a morning’s picking of blueberries (the ones that made it past our mouths and into the bucket). Everyone took turns adding the ingredients; then arguing over who got to lick clean the scraper.  It was a hot morning so we baked it in the toaster oven outside so it got a little over browned on top. Still delicious!

DSCN2859 We had another go this time making a half batch. Since I wanted to save some for our weekend camping trip I decided mini muffins would be the most likely to last.

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This time we used her pecan, cinnamon and sugar filling. My favorite! Everyone had a sample then I quickly packed the rest up for they disappeared.

DSCN3020One of these days I’ll be making a full batch (or two) I just love this coffee cake!

Also delicious from the Art of Breakfast is her recipe for Chilled Beets with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette. The goat cheese isn’t done yet but I’ve been enjoying the beets with the vinaigrette – which she also includes the recipe for – in the meantime.

Since my current favorite breakfast is Sour Cream Coffee Cake I’ll share the recipe with you. This is for a full batch.

Preheat oven 350F.

Combine 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar in a mixer, till creamy.

Add 1 cup of sour cream and 2 eggs. Mix till smooth.

Add in 1 Tlb vanilla extract, 2 cups flour,1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder.

In a well-greased Bundt pan pour in half the batter.

Top batter with the following mixture: 1 Tlb melted butter,1 tsp cinnamon,3 Tlb dark brown sugar, 3 Tlb chopped pecans.

Pour the rest of the batter on top.

Bake 50- 60 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool completely before removing from the pan. Muffins and partial batches takes less time. Regular sized muffins about 30-35 minutes.

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Fermenting

Now that we’re getting settled I figured it was time to get the ferments going again. I had brought a few things along that were “in progress” such as apple cider vinegar, preserved lemons, preserved limes (which are all rather low maintenance), and some much neglected dairy kefir. But it was time to attend to them and venture once more into fermenting veggies.

I had tried making fermented carrots before from Nourishing Traditions but they where so salty I couldn’t eat them. I even made another batch halving the salt but they were still too salty and more of a chore than a joy to get through. So I was feeling a little leery about wasting the time and effort and veggies. Then I read (parts of) The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. I also have his book Wild Fermentation but I much prefer The Art of Fermentation; it really made me want to get in the kitchen and get a jar going. And the next thing I knew there I was with a jar full of chopped veggies. And the best part is that even though I wasn’t able to have a garden this year every single vegetable was given to me by a friend who grew it in their garden. How sweet is that?!

Here’s what went in: carrots, radishes,yellow summer squash,garlic (some fresh picked, some   that was starting to sprout), chard stems, a small green tomato, basil. How heavenly it smells, how delicious it tastes!

I immediately started another jar this time zucchini spears with garlic.

Again, success! As my oldest Noah said “they’re just so good. I want to eat them all up.(followed by a lip-smacking slurp I can’t replicate)”. So I did it. I started a batched of shredded carrots.

And for a little compare and contrast I started a jar or pickled beets with onion in raw apple cider vinegar.

We haven’t tested these last two yet but the beets look lovely and the carrots, with a little help of the brine from the first batch of mixed veggies, are smelling wonderful. Next up? A jar full of basil! Seriously, it tastes like licorice once it’s fermented. Divine!

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