The Fall Organic Vegetable Garden
The fall organic vegetable garden contained many surprises this year. Some of the vegetables we left outside on purpose. The parsnips, turnips and carrots were so generous this year that we had absolutely no room for them in the refrigerator. My freezer is packed with pint-sized containers of blanched and frozen carrots.
Turnips store fairly well, but we’ve already put up bags of them in the garage, which is now doubling as a cold-storage room until the spring thaw. So we left them in the ground, figuring that the soil would insulate them for a few weeks longer, and the cool to cold weather would slow their growth rate so that they wouldn’t get much bigger.
The red cabbage is slowly forming into heads, and the cauliflower finally allowed us to peek inside the leathery green leaves to find the edible head. The broccoli continues to surprise us; the last stalks left in the garden not only produced another lovely head of broccoli, but it was so tender, so sweet, that even the broccoli haters in the household looked hopeful when I brought the bowl to the table.
Now is also the time for planning. The Parks catalog arrived, and I have already dog-eared several pages, including a page of asparagus for the new asparagus bed we are planting next year, and the sweet potatoes, which will once again have pride of place in the garden. I sat down at the computer over the weekend and mapped out the vegetable beds, printing a blank form so that I can pencil in each variety.
In the meantime, as we start thinking about putting up the Christmas tree and writing out the Christmas cards, the Parks catalog beckons. I wonder if Santa can fit a few seed packets onto his sleigh?
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.