I must say the past week’s northeaster was pretty darned remarkable. There were a few gusts that made me fear for life and limb. I made the mistake of going out at one point. It’s astonishing that my car door is still attached.
Sadly, my vegetable garden experienced its first frost of the season right before the big blow.
I lost a beautiful row of late-planted green beans. They were bug-free and blooming like crazy. I managed to eat several tiny beans while admiring them the day before.
There are several plants which I had previously considered tender that survived the freeze. Cilantro, dill and alyssum still look great. I picked some dill for a salad dressing. The cilantro is headed for the charter school. The new chef is making it into pesto. Why I grow the stuff is a mystery. I loathe it. Tastes like soap to me.
Forgive me if I already wrote this. The old memory bank has had too many withdrawals. For years I seeded fennel into flats in the early spring for transplantation. Rarely, if ever, have I harvested bulbs. Inevitably, it goes right to seed, so that, while lovely, is pretty much useless. Finally, as a last resort, I read the directions on the seed packet. It says direct seed only. I did that at the end of August and am finally eating some great bulbs, although still tiny. There you have it. Live and rarely learn.
I also planted some beets at the end of August. They don’t seem to be growing at all. For some reason I pulled one and found perfect baby beetroots the size of large gumballs. Like most things in life, there’s more to something or someone than you think from a first impression.
I yanked all the hot pepper plants and hung them upside down in the green house to dry. Again, why do I do this? I don’t like them and use only about two a year. They are so pretty and look great in a Christmas arrangement or as a gift to my braver friends. The good news about a frost is finally pulling up the last of the annuals. I can never bear cutting something with the possibility of one more blossom. That ship has sailed and I need to switch gears. It’s time to lime the vegetable beds and toss some compost about. I like gardening this time of year. It’s all about next season — nothing has gone wrong yet. Hope springs eternal.
My potato crop failed miserably this year. Lucky for us the celeriac is the bumper crop. It substitutes nicely in stews and roasted vegetable dishes. A combination of leeks, fat carrots and celeriac roasted until syrupy is a hardy dish with or without a meat. I’m sure there is plenty of celery root at the winter farmers’ market, held this Saturday at the Agricultural Hall. There is also plenty of local meat for sale.
One plus about writing a column is the self-imposed guilt. Last week I wrote about planting garlic and spring bulbs and how I was going to get around to it. Well, happily, I did get the garlic into the ground. I planted rows of it right next to my rows of carrots. Hopefully, it will foil the voles in their endless quest. They would polish off all the wintering-over carrots but they hate garlic. My rescue barn cats are doing a great job keeping the population down, but it might be overwhelming for them.
Well, the election is over. I don’t know if the Democrats won or if the Republicans really lost. Hopefully the GOP will switch to a more center-right position. The Dems had to select a more center-left candidate in Bill Clinton after losing three presidential elections in a row.
Oddly, many on the right think Romney wasn’t conservative enough. Bill O’Reilly was heard on Fox moaning about the white establishment becoming the minority. He said the new majority (Obama voters) “want stuff.” Gail Collins countered by saying this attitude was the opposite of older white men, all of whom have signed a pledge to never accept veteran benefits, social security or Medicare. I’ve said it many times. Everyone thinks others are misusing government benefits but don’t want theirs taken away.
It will be interesting to see what the next four years will bring. Wouldn’t it be great if Congress would play nicely with others.