Mid-Septemeber in the vegetable garden is a sight to behold. The morning slant of September light, when the sun swings lower in the sky, puts everything in a different perspective from the bright summertime.
I’m not sure if I’ve written that everything grown at Coppertop is 100% free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. A balanced yet simplified explanation of organic gardening and the many benefits of rich, amended soil can be found here.
My first time growing Brussels sprouts — this variety is called Bite-size and is nearly mature. These will withstand fall and winter temps, so I’m in no rush to harvest. Love these roasted in the oven with a splash of maple syrup and handful of toasted walnuts. I have about 15-18 enormous plants in a couple of beds.
The last few heads of the first batch of cauliflower are perfect. I’ve had a consistent harvest for a couple of months because I planted in stages. One raised bed holds the newest cauliflower and broccoli plants, as well as a few bush beans.
Our green bean trellis simply could not be more prolific. I’ve stored over 15 pounds of beans by freezing and canning. We’re not quite tired of fresh green beans at dinnertime.
Not to be outdone, the hoed peas have re-sprouted. I took this photo before Son helped out by adding sticks and string in a makeshift trellis. I hope they produce before the first frost. If not, I’ll just consider them a cover crop since legumes are great nitrogen fixers, enhancing the soil and making excellent green manure. I learned more about green manure this week at a master gardener’s lunchtime lecture, but more on that another day.
Ripe cabbages have been sitting tight in their bed until use. We have about 8 heads remaining. I’ve made coleslaw, Chinese chicken salad, and added cabbage to stir-fries MULTIPLE times this summer. I’m considering recipes to preserve sauerkraut for our family’s New-Year’s-Day-On-The-Beach traditional meal of sausage and sauerkraut. This week I also blanched and froze large cabbage wedges to use in winter recipes, although fresh cabbage is the tastiest.
Also biding their time in the soil prior to pulling are many carrots. I’ve sown seed in stages and will have carrots maturing for a few more months. The hens love raw carrots, but I’ll save most for us humans in a bucket of cool sand in the basement when we hit freezing temps outdoors.
Lettuces are on second and third rotations. This time around I’ve planted a variety called Prizehead with red edges alongside the mellow Buttercrunch. Another bed holds Romaine which I just re-seeded a few weeks ago. If frost threatens, I have the option of covering these beds with plastic and still enjoying a good harvest.
We’re still harvesting boatloads of zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and cukes, and the chickens love the extras. This week I took bags of squash and dozens of eggs to the food bank, and plan to continue that as long as the beds (and chickens) are producing.