Winter Gardens

Pickings are slim in the gardens this time of year, but even in the dead of winter they’re still giving us some delicious bounty.

On Sundays when we have our weekly farm planning meeting I let Cherie know what’s available in the gardens, so she can do her menu planning for the week.  Of course we have lots of food put away from the summer, so even if we were buried in snow we’d have plenty of good food to eat.  But we like to eat seasonally as much as possible, so our meals tend to be oriented around what’s in season.

This week, for example, we had roasted Brussels sprouts, turnip soup, sauteed senposai and Brussels sprouts greens, spaghetti sauce made with kale, and arugula pizza–all featuring items I brought in from the gardens this week.  Of course most of the other food we’ve eaten this week was grown here too, but the rest of it came from the freezer or a jar, rather than straight from the garden.

I expect the gardens will continue to give us great food, right up until it’s time to plow them up and start over. Our favorite grocery store is in our backyard. That’s one of the things I like best about this life.

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29 comments on “Winter Gardens

  1. Sue says:

    Sounds delicious.
    I sure miss my garden—but yes, the freezer and the pantry deliver at this time of year.
    Have a wonderful week

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I miss the abundant gardens too. I keep in mind that the day is fast approaching when we’ll barely be able to keep up. A great week to you as well!

      Like

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hey Bill, when you say “the dead of winter”, what exactly, does that mean?
    For example: here – roughly an hour east of Toronto and ten minutes north of Lake Ontario – it’s -16*C(1*F); been snowing and blowing overnight (hard to say how much, with this wind but, I’m guessing 2-3 inches of snow down so far) with major drifting going on…

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    • Bill says:

      Being much farther south, conditions like that are rare here. I worked all day today in a strong cold wind, but the temp (without considering wind chill) stayed above freezing all day. This time of year it usually goes below freezing at night, then warms up during the day. But we can have days in the 60s (Farenheit) and days in the teens. In the same week. Seems cold to us, but probably wouldn’t to you.

      I’m not tough enough to live where you are. Stay warm…

      Like

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Ah, what a difference hundreds of miles can make 😉 In Maine, the winter gardens are buried beneath at least three feet of snow, and today we’re expected to receive another foot. We all dream of spring.

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    • Bill says:

      Yes and your summers are glorious. I spent some time in Maine one summer and was amazed at how early the sun came up and how late it went down. The weather was wonderful. I have a friend who lives in Portland. He says they live for the summers.

      I admire folks who can live in places like Maine, but I’m not sure I could survive the winters. 🙂

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  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, ha, funny you should mention snow. Up until now we have received an inch or two along the path of Winter’s journey though the Winter weeks but Saturday it began to snow in earnest. By Sunday evening we had over a foot of snow. I know my East coast friends would scoff at such a small amount compared to what they have received this Winter but it’s a goodly amount to deal with just the same. It just so happens my cousin is getting a knee replaced tomorrow and I’ve been designated to care for her little short haired Chihuahua. Yeah, so now I’ll have to snow blow a portion of the yard for Bailey’s potty area. Being only eight inches high is a problem when the snow is 12 inches high. 🙂

    Gardens are still hibernating here with nothing growing yet. Only under the grow lights will there be hope for the coming garden year. This week is the week to start onions under the grow lights. Every thing else pretty much has to wait another month to six weeks before they get their turn on the heat mat.

    Have a great Winter garden day.

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    • Bill says:

      We haven’t had any snow yet this year. And that’s just fine by me.

      Most years we can keep some kind of garden going year round. Last winter was so cold that didn’t happen, but it’s been a mild one this year. We’d have a lot more in the gardens if we hadn’t been hit with an unseasonably cold spell back in the fall that stunted the fall gardens.

      We’ll be starting seed soon for the spring gardens. It’ll be here before you know it.

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  5. Joanna says:

    Yes dead of winter for us here in the “mountains” of Latvia (said very much with tongue in cheek, because there are no mountains in Latvia, just hilly areas) is under a covering of snow. It hasn’t been as cold as normal and so been thawing and snowing pretty much since late December, which is very annoying. I would rather it snow and stay and get cold. We have our stocks in the freezer, in boxes of sawdust, in jars and in a cool house. Nothing fresh so far, but I will be starting off some seeds to sprout for some greens soon

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    • Bill says:

      It’s been weeks since we had enough in the gardens to offer anything to our customers. I’m glad we’re still able to eat fresh from the garden, but as I said, the pickings are slim.

      We sprout greens inside too for salads. Been enjoying sunflower sprouts all week and will probably have them again tonight.

      It won’t be long till we’ll all be back out in our gardens again. 🙂

      Like

      • Joanna says:

        Ooh! Sunflower sprouts, now there is an idea. You have just reminded me that I was going to set some seeds away before we go away – a week is just about right for sprouting things.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. farmerkhaiti says:

    Even though we’re all jealous that you have such a relatively mild winter compared to many, I just want to say it takes dedication to be still eating out of your garden so faithfully in FEBRUARY! You guys are awesome!

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    • Bill says:

      The comments remind me that we’re fortunate to live where we can experience the change of seasons, without having winters that kill everything. We’ve had much better winter gardens than these, but I’m not complaining. I do love being able to pick our supper. 🙂

      But that doesn’t seem so awesome to me. Awesome is being tough enough to farm in those northern winters!

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  7. You have really stepped back in time, Bill. Or is it that you have stepped forward? –Curt

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  8. smfarm says:

    Living in the South does have its advantages. We’re eating a little spinach, kale and carrots from the garden still.

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    • Bill says:

      Sounds great! I’ve never been able to grow carrots. I finally quit trying. We have lots of overwintering spinach, but it won’t be big enough to pick until spring. The deer have been enjoying it lately so I’m not sure they’re going to leave us any.

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  9. avwalters says:

    I love that moment when you survey the garden and decide what’s for dinner. I also remember the early season survivors–chard in April, mmmmm.

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  10. EllaDee says:

    I am thrilled even at just being able to pick a few herbs or salad from the garden… I would be over the moon for it to be my supermarket. The meals sound delicious. I think what you’ve both managed to create is quite an accomplishment. I know you’re in the process of publishing a current book, but the story/process, etc is something I’d read 🙂

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    • Bill says:

      I’m sure you could manage it at Taylors Arm. 🙂

      Even though very few people do it here, it’s not hard to garden year round in this climate. The key to making the best of it, I think, is to plan meals based on what you have (as A.V. said in her comment).

      We’ve thought about writing a book about our journey. Maybe someday. The best of those kinds of books have some humor in them, and that doesn’t come easy to me.

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        “…(humour) doesn’t come easy for (you)”. Really?! I’ve not noticed a dearth of humour in your posts. (You’re still using the “piggy smile” in your avatar, aren’t you?)
        Your style of humour suits me just fine, thanks!; )

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    • Bill says:

      Hope you still have some goodies in the garden. We had a stir fry tonight featuring some of our kale. Delicious.

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      • Woody says:

        Not much is left in the ground. The root cellar is still the “go to’ pantry. We freeze a great deal of our summer goods with sweet corn topping out my top ten. There is just something very special about cracking open a jar of tomatoes and heating up some sweet corn on a very cold and windy day in February.

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  11. shoreacres says:

    I’ve changed my eating habits a good bit, but I just found that line I can’t cross. Arugula pizza and kale spaghetti sauce. Oxymorons, both, IMHO. On the other hand, I’ve become willing to add kale to soup, so there’s that. 🙂

    I can’t find the website for “my” farm, but I did turn up this slideshow that’s included on the site. I thought you might enjoy seeing it.

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    • Bill says:

      Arugula is really excellent on pizza. I wouldn’t have thought so either until I tried it. I’m sure you’d like it. Of course arugula wasn’t the only thing on the pizza (nor was kale the only ingredient in the spaghetti sauce). Both had tomato sauce and mushrooms from the farm, among other things. With seasonal eating we adjust recipes based on what we have. That sometimes prompts experimentation (as in the case of the arugula pizza). Sometimes the experiments aren’t hits and other times they are.

      I’ve had no luck with the slide show, out here in the land of no high speed internet. I’ll try again sometime when it’s working better.

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