What a great time of year for edible gardeners in this part of the country. The harvest keeps coming thanks to a still-warm-enough Sun and just enough rain. It’s time to “process” some of that harvest, putting up goods for winter. There’s a whole new season to anticipate – one made up of cool weather crops soon to be sheltered by “mini hoop houses.” And, of course, it’s time to reflect on the victories and failures of the year and learn what we can for next spring. Continue reading
Weeds, beetles, caterpillars, rabbits, groundhogs, excessive heat, downpours, miscalculations and a few failed crops… .
By this point in the summer, the average organic gardener may wonder (very briefly) if it’s really worth all the effort.
It’s been a beautiful winter weekend in the Delaware River Valley. Friday night’s light snowfall left a dusting of powder on bare branches, turning stark grey woods into delicate lace work. Seasonally cold, if only for a few days, the weather has been ideal for indoor activities like curling up with a good book…or paging through those organic seed catalogs that always seem to land in the mailbox just as the weather is at its coldest.
Full of the brilliant colors and textures sorely missing from the winter landscape, seed catalogs can get us imagining ourselves as flawless gardeners, capable of cultivating the rarest flower or most esoteric vegetable. While reality will check those fantasies in a few months, for now, we can indulge them a bit by choosing from a wide variety of tiny packages. Read more
Local mixed greens with organic beets and goat cheese
If you live in the Delaware River Valley — or any place with four seasons — you know it’s more challenging to eat local and organic in the dead of January. Of course, if you’ve been industrious and built yourself a greenhouse or a few hoop houses, you can enjoy year-round produce local to your backyard. But for everyone else, a sustainable winter meal can take a bit of planning.
Doing the best you can
In late summer and early fall, the abundance of fresh, local and organic produce can make you feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store. The bounty of your garden, the variety at the farmers’ markets, the charm of tiny roadside stands where the produce is garden-grown and the purchase is made on the “honor system”… . Before you know it, you’ve bought enough produce to feed an army. Read more
Despite the heat and the drought, the mostly organic garden is producing nicely. Pictured are tomatoes (organic plants from Gravity Hill Farm); beans (from organic Burpee seed); and cucumbers, eggplant, basil, marjoram and sage (from non-organic starter plants but fertilized and tended organically). Aren’t they pretty?