Organic Garden - Fall
Observations, techniques and ideas that work for us. Follow them through the seasons. ENJOY!
The BEST POTATOE CROP EVER!
Seeing is believing. Our harvest of Yukon Gold potatoes was huge. This was the best potato year we have ever had. It may be due to the planting of the potatoes under the black plastic. It may be due to the companion planting of Jasmine tobacco. It kept the potato bugs at bay. Whatever the reason, I am grateful.
When Bob and Cannon dug into each mound, it yielded eight to ten large potatoes and a few medium ones. They are currently curing on the back porch. Sometimes when digging into the mound, a potato will get a nick out of it from the shovel hitting it. I will make my Potato Cheese soup from Recipe Ring #2 out of these. It freezes well and will taste great on a cold winter’s night in Minnesota.
- ½ cup onion – chopped
- ½ cup celery – Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups potatoes- diced
- 3 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 dash paprika
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack or white cheddar cheese
- Fresh parsley – chopped
Sauté celery and onion in oil until tender. Add potatoes and broth. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree soup in blender or food processor. Return to heat, add milk and seasonings. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts. Top each bowl with fresh parsley. Serves eight.
We have an incredible crop of squash this year. I believe that this is the best harvest that we have ever had with squash. Right now, they are curing out on the picnic bench and others are spread out on the drying table. I will get them inside in several weeks.
I am searching out squash recipes. This morning, I made a Butternut Squash Curry Soup. It is yummy. We will have it for dinner and I will freeze the rest. I like to make huge batches of soup and then freeze it in quart size baggies. This way, we always have a quick meal, even on my busy days.
One of our favorite ways to eat squash is to bake them whole (350 degrees) for an hour. Next, I cut the squash in half—lengh-ways, and clean out the seeds and pulp. I put butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans in the cavity. Then I bake it for another 20 minutes. This is GOOD!
My garden always announces the arrival of fall before it becomes "official" and we hear it on the evening news. The signs are all here now, and I have a feeling of urgency. The weather pattern in Minnesota can change quite dramatically and it does not pay to let things get behind. My neighbors are all farmers who depend on the harvest for their livelihood. Their hours get longer as the days become shorter.
Bob picked tomatoes last evening. I feel like the tomato queen of the world. There are three huge pots of tomato sauce boiling on the stove. I remove only the stems and put the whole tomatoes into my VITA-MIX (a blender will work too). After processing for a few seconds, they go directly into the pot. I usually add salt, pepper, fresh basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley. The herbs go in by the handfuls. This will simmer away until the sauce cooks down and them be put in quart size plastic bags, labeled and put in the freezer. This winter, it will be converted into all kinds of good things-including spaghetti sauce, Chile, lamb stew, and tomato and barley soup. An excellent way to thicken the sauce is to add squash (put it in the blender first). I also put a fresh red beet in each pot of sauce-(grated or blended first). This makes a deep red sauce that doesn't taste any different, but it is a prettier shade of red!
The peppers are coming on strong and we are going to have a LOT!
My favorite variety is a huge sweet pepper that looks like a bell pepper, but is bigger and tastes sweeter. It is called a Chinese Giant. I slice them and put them into the dehydrator. These make good snacks and I use them in quite a few recipes.
The Jalapenos go right into salsa . The extra ones, I will pickle. These are good on pizza. The cayenne will be hung in long strands and dried. I also have an Anaheim pepper that is sweet/hot and good roasted or in stir fry.
My Alaskan melon plants were a huge success. I am drying the seed to save for next year. The melons are firm and sweet and it is the first time I have be able to grow really good ones in Minnesota. We are eating them fresh- every day and I am also dehydrating some for winter snacks.
I cook pumpkin in the oven. The pumpkin is cooked and then frozen. Each bag of cooked pumpkin will make two pies. My sheep and geese fight over the skins and seeds. There are always extra pumpkins planted for winter feed for the sheep. The chickens like them too.
The garden is almost "put to bed" for the winter. There are still several rows of perennial herds that will need mulching. The sheep pens and chicken coops have been cleaned out and the straw and manure will make most excellent mulch. It is piled on one side of the garden, waiting to be put in place.
There is still some general cleanup to do. This consists of pulling up the plants and pitching them across the fence to the waiting sheep. This is their favorite time of the year and they are getting FAT!
Soon, the "snow blanket will come to cover the land. The garden and I will rest.