It’s hard to believe summer is over and fall is already upon us! We still have a few things in the garden, but for the most part, we’ve been spending time harvesting and preserving the last of our vegetables.
This time of year can be pretty sad. Our summer garden is basically finished and pretty soon chilly weather will be here. At the same time, though, we finally get a chance to relax a bit, instead of spending all our time weeding and harvesting. Plus, we still have a few veggies that will continue to grow throughout the fall (and hopefully even winter).
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
A lot of our plants have been finished for a while, including the cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini, but the last few weeks we’ve still been picking a few tomatoes and peppers, and a lot of broccoli, spinach, kale, and potatoes.
The potatoes have been in the ground for a while, and we plan to dig them all up very soon. I’m guessing we’ll get at least a few bags of potatoes, just from sticking maybe 5 cut-up ones in the ground. That’s SO amazing to me.
It looks like the broccoli is done producing huge heads, but we’ve been getting small florets here and there. The cabbage worms have found the broccoli and are hard to see because they’re bright green like the vegetable, so we’ve been sitting the florets in salt water, which is supposed to make the bugs float to the top, and being extra aware when preparing the broccoli. Hey, it’s just a little added protein, right?
The kale and spinach will continue to grow for awhile. I’ve been eating it like crazy and giving kale to friends, family, and a local restaurant (Karma Coffee Co). You’d think I’d be sick of kale by now, but no way. If anything, I have a new found love of kale!
Our nasturtiums, which we put between vegetable plants to keep bugs away, have gotten enormous. Nasturtiums are actually edible, both the flower and the leaves, so I may try using those in the kitchen! I’ve seen a lot of recipes for stuffed nasturtium leaves that look good. I happened to catch a little bee hanging out on one of the flowers.
My mom has honestly been doing most of the preserving of our veggies. I’ve been bringing her hot peppers and tomatoes and she’s been canning them! I appreciate all her help with this and I of course let her keep most of the canned items. She also made a ton of salsa like usual, which is definitely my favorite item she cans (I shared her recipe last year).
I did make some tomato basil soup with our tomatoes and onions and some of my mom’s basil and garlic. I roasted it all in the oven with some olive oil, blended it up in my Vitamix, and used my canning set I got last Christmas to preserve it. I know I’ll be super happy this winter when I have some homemade soup to warm me up.
I always try to freeze some veggies, too. I already blanched and froze some broccoli and plan to do more, along with some kale and hot peppers probably.
Fall & Winter Plants
As I mentioned above, the kale and spinach will continue to grow. They actually prefer cooler weather! Once it starts getting super cold with frost and snow, we’ll cover the plants to protect them–I have these covers. It made me so happy last year going out in winter boots to pick kale in the snow, and I’m excited to see if it lasts this year, too.
Instead of salads and kale chips, I’m sure I’ll be making more soups and casseroles with the kale and spinach. Eating healthier is definitely easier when you have dark greens available right outside your door!
Preparing for Winter
Last year, we made the mistake of letting all the plants and weeds hang out in the garden over winter. Not only was this a ton of work for us once we began to get ready for our garden this summer, but this can also take a lot of nutrients out of the soil. We added cow manure, worm casings, and epsom salt to help our plants grow this summer, but we’ll definitely be pulling all the plants this time (except for the spinach and kale, of course) and adding some mulch on top.
I’m actually not 100% sure what all we need to do to prep the garden for winter, so I’ll be doing a lot of research over the next couple of weeks. Pulling the weeds will definitely take some time and hard work, because we have basically a forest of weeds in the garden, but we’ll be glad we did it once it’s time to plant next year’s.
Although I’m bummed our garden is coming to end, we had an amazing summer full of lots of veggies. I’m ready to relax a bit over winter and enjoy some of our frozen and canned produce, while I get excited for next year’s garden.
Thanks for reading! Happy gardening ♥
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