Here are a few photos of how our garden is shaping up for fall and winter. I'm only part-way done planting garlic. Since we had an enormous harvest earlier this year, I'm thinking about planting around 1,000 bulbs of garlic. Maybe I could sell some next year?
My back is aching from pulling weeds and digging little trenches for planting the garlic. I've been at it for a few days now and there are several more days to go. Last night, I ached in weird places, like the tops of my feet, around my thumbs, my forearms and my elbows. Probably from all the tugging. Who knew weeding worked so many small muscle groups? I fell flat on my arse multiple times yanking noxious weeds from the ground. A hoe and shovel come in really handy to loosen things up.
The pollinators hang out in our garden where they can find blooms here even in the middle of fall. We've got purple artichoke flowers, giant orange marigolds, the white flowers of peas and beans, tomato flowers (yup, there are still some in bloom!), and the blueish-purple cornflowers and borage.
Oh, and nasturtiums! They have seeded themselves everywhere in the garden, and they are in a variety of colors including yellow, orange and red.
I replanted cucumber and zucchini in mid-summer for another round, and they are producing fruit now.
Every few days I bring inside a few more small zucchinis. These younger plants are slower to wilt than the ones we planted in late spring.
I don't think the peas that I replanted in July will provide us with anything before the first frost. I guess the pea shoots are edible, though, and so we might try that if they taste good. I've never tried it.
The kale, spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce are doing well. A lot of it just reseeded itself. The only drawback to letting plants reseed is that sometimes they appear in odd places. This causes the garden to have a willy-nilly sort of layout, with vegetables growing in walkways. As a result we've had to leap over donor plants to avoid crushing them as we make our way across the garden.
Tomatoes are growing everywhere. Literally everywhere. New tomato plants appear whenever I put compost down. I just let them grow where they sprout and as a result we always have an abundance. I've been canning and freezing tomatoes for weeks and my cupboards and freezer are stuffed full. We made salsa, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce. Neighbors even came over to pick some. And still, red tomatoes can be seen all over the place when you walk through the garden.
I'm really surprised at how well the strawberries are still producing. We pick giant red berries every couple days. Most of them are going into the freezer so we can enjoy them all through the winter. I'm also considering making some really strong strawberry margaritas tonight to help ease the aches and pains from weeding.
Here is our main lettuce patch. The salads from this leafy green lettuce has been stellar. We also replanted onions in late summer so that we'd have the green onion tops going into winter. These have been yummy on top of all the Japanese food we've been making.
I've really gotten into learning about Japanese cuisine. The umami flavor that is in many of the dishes that we've been making is so yummy. Yesterday I made a dashi stock, which is a very easy and quick stock made with dried bonito flakes (which you soak in hot water and then strain out), but I also added dehydrated horse mushrooms. The horse mushrooms were collected from our yard last spring. Then I used the stock in a soup that also had chicken broth. Other ingredients in the soup included fresh ginger, garlic, onion, julienned carrots and celery sautéed in sesame oil. As the soup was nearing finish, I added chopped zucchini and shredded cabbage, and then at the very end I added cooked rice, diced cooked chicken (using leftovers from making chicken adobo the day before) and shrimp. The soup was seasoned with miso, sake, chili paste and soy sauce. It was a flavorful and hearty soup that we enjoyed for dinner, and the leftovers were even tastier at lunch today. I didn't use a recipe but rather used soup-making steps that I've noticed from many recipes, where you sauté the aromatics first, then add the broth base, and then the vegetables that cook for longer. Then you add the short-cooking things to the soup, and once they are heated, you finish by adding flavor enhancers that shouldn't be cooked as long, such as miso and soy sauce. Soup is one of my favorite things to make.
Thanks for taking a look at our fall garden!