Using up and starting anew

‘Tis the season for finishing what remains of last year’s harvest, getting some early tastes of this season’s bounty, and prepping the garden for much goodness to come.

The Old

  • In the “root cellar“:
    • Potatoes — For awhile there, I really wasn’t sure we would make it through all of these.  I’m planning a new potato triage strategy for this year’s harvest (more below).
    • Winter squash and sweet potatoes — Also a decent  bit to use yet . . . .
    • Onions — a couple of pounds of small (i.e., pain-in-the-butt to use) onions left.  The fact that I pay three dollars for a single (large) organic onion at the store may motivate me to put in the effort to use these.
    • Garlic — what’s left is a bit dehydrated, but still okay to use.
  • In the freezer:
    • In general, items in the freezer aren’t as urgent, but still good to make room for this year’s harvest.
    • Loot includes shredded zucchini (for zucc bread), red raspberries, chard, pureed winter squash, green peppers, and fennel.

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This meal made use of some of our stored potatoes (Purple Viking, which are white inside, and an all-blue variety, which look dark purple).  Plus canned beats.  The cabbage for the slaw was not from the garden.  And, alas, we don’t have chickens, so the eggs are from the farmers’ market.

So, potatoes.  They store best if you leave the dirt on after harvesting, but by this time of year, when they’re a bit wrinkly, cleaning them is a pain, especially the little ones.  For this year’s harvest, my plan is to immediately (i.e., within a few weeks of harvest) sort out all of the littles, wash them when their skin is still nice and smooth, and then prioritize eating them within a month.

The New

Thanks to the voles (ha!), we didn’t leave much in the ground this winter.  Instead of one long low tunnel (or a couple of shorter tunnels), as in winters past, Matthew put up one relatively small tunnel, mainly to keep the artichokes alive.  He also planted some arugula in that tunnel.

After the winter we had, I didn’t expect anything to survive, tunnel or no, but lo-and-behold, the arugula made it, and we’ve been having arugula salads for the past few weeks.

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It’s so nice to taste fresh, raw veggies at this point in the year, after lots of cooked veg all winter.  The meal also included some freezer goodness: green peppers, red peppers, and tomatillo sauce, plus some of our homegrown corn meal went into the corn bread casserole.

In the ground

As of this past weekend, the spring garden is in great shape.  The potatoes are planted, along with all of the cruciferous seedlings, fennel, and onion starts.  So many plants ready to be outside and growing!

We are also starting a number of things from seed: peas, beets, lettuce, spinach, and chard — all in the ground!  Matthew’s mom made this awesome planting grid, that makes planting easier, faster, and so organized (I love that last one!).  I hope to get some pictures of the grid in action this weekend.

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