Winter gardening is lovely. The weather is cooler, the weeds grow slower, there are fewer insect pests, and, best of all, the veggies are more beautiful. The bright and sassy colors of Swiss Chard. The sexy white curves of Bok Choy. The fat, deep purple leaves of Red Cabbage. Just beautiful.
And the flowers. Pansies are my favorite. Their little cheery faces looking up at you as you walk by. It's as if they are gaily saying, "Hello! Hi!" Corny maybe, but adorable.
We had the first meal from the winter garden the other night. I wanted comfort food. I made stock from some leftover chicken and the smell walking into the house while it was cooking was heavenly. There's just something so comforting about walking into a warm house with cold-bit cheeks from being outside and having the smell of chicken soup surrounding you.
George and I went to the garden to pick some bok choy. It was dark already, so he held the flashlight. I trimmed the bok choy of as many leaves as I thought prudent, then eyed the peppers. A handful of jalapenos and a bell or two later, I passed the parsley. Mmmmmm. Then spied the tarragon. It had grown so much that it was draping over the sides of the pot. A couple snips later and we headed back into the house.
An hour or so later, George and I ladled up bowls of the wonderful stuff. Some grated parmesan on top, a dollop of sour cream in mine. Yum! We found out George likes bok choy! Broccoli he already loves, and now bok choy. Hanging around me is apparently a good thing for him. ;)
The artichokes are doing well. The transplanted one is doing best of all, both parts of it. It looks like it's forgiven us for the ill treatment (that was the one I ignored the past couple years and George accidentally tilled last spring). I decided moving it would be a good idea, so divided it while I was at it. I put each part in the middle of each of the two rows I've dedicated to artichokes, putting two seedlings alongside each one, six in all. I can't wait to eat those next year.
The free broccoli from work is doing pretty good, too. The free cauliflower is okay. But no matter what we get, hey, it was free.
I've been keeping three wide rows at the far northeast corner of the garden open for onions. I was going to plant peas in there, but it got late. I did plant spinach and cilantro in one next to them, with five elephant garlic cloves down the middle. Hopefully, if all sprouts, it'll look nice.
I also planted dill in the far four by four square foot garden. I was going to make it a real square foot garden, but lost my gumption.
Need to plant carrots.
I also planted some Gladiolus byzantinus bulbs. I can't wait to see them next spring.
We still have peppers and tomatoes from summer. The peppers are just LOADED, especially the Dragon Thai pepper Lauren at work gave me. I was concerned about the one at first. While it was still a tiny little thing, the chickens got ahold of it and ate it to almost a nub. Doesn't seem to have set it back much.
And the tomatoes. I still have a Juliet, two Romas, the Black Giant and an unidentified one that's probably a Solar Fire. All of them are just full of fruit, so I hate to just let them freeze. We strung Christmas lights along them and George has been encouraging me to keep them covered when temps get chilly. I'm hoping for Christmas tomatoes. So far, one Roma and three or so Juliets are ripening.
I LOVE that Black Giant. It was the clear winner this summer for best tasting imho. Like the Cherokee Purple, my former fave, but more full-bodied in flavor. And it's prettier, lacking the circular cracks around the top. It's just a beautiful, smooth, brownish-purple beefsteak-shaped tomato.
And lastly, our Thanksgiving table. Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone!