Oh my, these are good days around the garden. The harvests are rolling in, food is being eaten, and put by for winter, and herbs are being harvested and turned into medicine. There is a fullness in the beds, I might even say it is kind of wild, but the wild is growing some good food.
These days in the garden are the ones I dream about in February, when I sit back with a seed catalog in front of the fire with a cup of tea, the snow gently falling outside, and pick out the seeds for the planting season to come. During the dark, cold days of winter it is this dream that keeps me going, as well as the anticipation of being in the garden day in and day out, tending, nurturing, and growing our food.
This week we have been eating kale, Swiss chard, snow peas, green and yellow beans, zucchinis, and the first tomatoes. Parsley, basil, dill, chives, oregano, and sage have all been included in our meals here and there, and we are still enjoying strawberries and raspberries. Peppermint is being used in our drinks and to make sun tea, and calendula, yarrow, St. John's wort, lemon balm, and motherwort have all been harvested to make plant medicine.
The biggest news this week, I harvested the garlic, 74 beautiful, organic heads of garlic. I am not sure what it is about garlic, but I do love growing and harvesting it. It might be the whole process, planting it in the fall, tucking it in tightly under warm straw, watching the snow pile high on top all winter long, then seeing the little shoots of green peeking out in early spring, harvesting the scapes, and then finally, digging up the garlic. The whole process is amazing, and one that never gets old. The garlic bed is now empty, waiting to be topped up with some compost, and planted again. With what I am not too sure, I will figure all of that out this week.
The salad greens are done, getting a little too bitter for my tastes. I pulled out what was remaining and tossed it in the chicken run...I am the chickens new favourite person now. I also bring them leaves of kale full of cabbage worms. I have cleaned up the part of the bed where the salad greens were, and again will decide what to plant there this week.
Something else happens in the garden at this time of the year, I start planning again. Up until last year, we planted our summer garden, enjoyed it, and didn't really think much about planting for fall or winter. We harvested as much as we could before the first frost, and continued to eat kale until it was covered in snow. Last year, we decided to plant a fall garden, and really enjoyed it. So this year, we have decided to take it a step further and try out some winter gardening. I have been digging this week, creating a deep hole to put our cold frame in. It was hard work, but I finally moved the last bit of soil yesterday. The next step is to put a nice layer of straw on the bottom, place the cold frame in, fill it up with soil, and then plant it. I am pretty excited about this, and am really looking forward to see just how well we can grow food in the winter this way.
We also have plans of creating low tunnels on one or two of the raised beds. I need to firm up my plans this week on how many beds, and which ones, as those are the ones I will plant for the fall and winter garden.
And last but not least, did you see that new raised bed. Justin didn't think I could find a place for yet another raised bed, but I did! This one though, isn't for food. This will be my cut flower bed. I have a lot of perennial flower beds, and I do cut flowers regularly from them, but I thought it might be fun to have a specific bed just for flowers. They will grow in rows just like my vegetable beds, it won't necessarily be pretty, but it isn't meant to be. These flowers are meant for cutting, and a cutting I will be doing. I can't wait!
Wow, a lot of things have happened around the garden this week. Exciting times for sure.
How are things around your garden?