I know these ingredients aren’t from the garden, but I wanted to blog about my first time making marmalade as part of Food in Jars‘ Mastery Challenge. Plus there’s really not much to say about the garden in January (or even the yard, beyond some wood-chopping to keep the firewood well stocked)
I used up all the ginger in the fridge and think I had that much, but given that I think ginger is an essential food group, I would have preferred to put in at least twice as much. Plus I’m searching to get any hint of ginger now. That’s pretty surprising considering that I’ve always found Australian Women’s Weekly to have big flavors (see the chili cordiander jam/chutney that I’ve blogged about before and adore.)
Another lesson I learned is that I’d prefer smaller slices — mostly not as long, though also not as thick would be fine too.
I ended up with seven 8-ounce/half-pint/jelly jars and one jar half that size
Next month’s challenge is salt preserving. Any suggestions? Maybe I’ll learn to make gravlax? (Does that count?)
Now our onion bed is packed — and that’s after giving some away in the neighborhood and beyond.
Right now they feel more like green onions on steroids. But come summer, I figure every green stalk you see will give off at least three bulbs and we will have dozens of shallots. I’ll know how those people in Asheville were feeling when they put out a bowl of onion bulbs for the taking. Be sure to stop by and claim some. Or I can bring you some.
Yes, I know we have hundreds (likely 1,000+, since they keep naturalizing) already in the yard. Yes, I know I didn’t need more.
I tried to resist. I resisted the offer of two bags of 50 mixed bulbs for $12 at an area garden center. I resisted an email fall clearance offer, though after some internal debate. I resisted when a friend emailed about it, suggesting we go in on an order. Everything 35% off! But when he repeated the offer and said he was ordering the next day, I took another look. Not just at those listed in the email but all the daffodils on the website. And when I saw the mixed assortment of “double” daffodils — fragrant, frilly, showy — well, I caved.
The smallest pack was 50 bulbs. But I’d already fallen off the wagon, so why show restraint now? I figured I’d get 100 and worry about where to plant them later.
Fortunately, my friend missed that part of my request and only ordered 50 for me.
I picked up the bulbs on Thanksgiving morning and just stared at the size of that bag. What had I done? Where would they all go? I didn’t know where the other bulbs were, just that they were all over the flower beds. And I’d moved some in the spring from a back bed that hasn’t worked out. At least then I could see where I could squeeze them in. But after all that, did I have any space left?
No time like the present to do a bit more “editing” of the beds .. thin out some, move some others. And yes, try to find room for daffodil bulbs.
I had some early success, but then it got hard. I’d dig — and slice through some bulbs. (I hope they can heal.) Time to be more careful. I would find a spot — and tuck in one, maybe two bulbs. This was slow-going. I eventually got about 30 in the ground and had no idea where to put the last 20. I really didn’t want to create a fresh bed, and I didn’t want to put them in a section of the front beds where I’d rarely see them. Could I put them in one of the raised vegetable beds for the winter and transplant them in May or June, when I could see the gaps? That might mess up the spring peas, or the tomatoes or …
But maybe somewhere else where they could later be moved? I settled on a spot in front of our garden bench, visible from the kitchen window. It nicely connected a flower bed and a lemongrass plant that just expanded and expanded over the summer (and now is indoors) on one end and that weigela we’d planted in the spring on the other. (Yes, the bench will likely get squeezed out as the shrub grows.). Plus it was an excuse to clear out some mock strawberry (a pointless effort, I know, but it made me feel good). The bulbs will stretch along the length of the bench and beyond, look pretty in the spring and yet be easy to transplant.
When I’m tempted again next year, I should read this again and just keep saying no. Unless, of course, I’ve created a new bed in anticipation.
I thought this was pretty much the last of the garden produce, aside from the odd tomato (and then the lemongrass stalks I harvested while transplanting the plants into indoor pots for the winter):
But when we cleaned up the tomato bed in late October, we ended gleaned plenty more, some with more appealing looks than others, plus a few more peppers:
The fall peas, planted in August, were still there, and we’d noticed the white flowers. But we’d given up on any actual pods. Guess the Brit planted too late, we said. No bees around to pollinate, we decided.
And then we spotted this, while mulching leaves for the compost bin. I think there may be about three pods.
Lesson learned. Plant in July if there is room in the bed. Otherwise don’t bother.
Purple, yellow and traditional green — this is why I bought that packet of bean seeds back in early May. Though the purple ones in particular lose their color pretty quickly. I’ll stick to 20 seconds in the microwave and leave a lot of crunch.
We will need to work at keeping up with the vegetables from the garden — that or have a party and cook for lots of people. We still have plenty of kale, though the salad greens are starting to bolt. And then there’s the output from this year’s three zucchini plants: we seem to get at least one zucchini a day. What to do with all of those? Add to stir fry, spiralize into noodles, make chocolate zucchini cake — or? Otherwise I will just have to freeze for winter baking). Perhaps the zucchini and beans are feeding off each other in a two-sister variation of the three-sister plantings (corn, beans and squash) that Native Americans favored.
The tomatoes have yet to ripen, though at least we can see fruit (yes, I’m jealous, Izzy).
When I looked out the kitchen window this time last year, I knew what was missing: color in the backyard flower bed.
Not this year.
The bold red of these crocosmia flowers are visible. Yes! All the more impressive since the flowers themselves are maybe 2 inches. (I’ve been spreading them out from their initial spot at the corner of the house; should I do more?) They also pair really nicely with the yellow flowers in a shrub that anchors one end of the bed. Which the bees were all over tonight.