Archive for October 19th, 2010

Independence Days Update: Season of Roots

Sharon October 19th, 2010

It is time to plant things that are dormant but need the winter to settle in - yesterday it was blue and black cohosh roots, goldenseal and bloodroot.  The day before it was garlic, and I still have bulbs yet to plant.  All of these things are somehow mysterious to me - one doesn’t believe they will actually come up and arrive again.  It is an investment in the future.

It is time to harvest the root crops as well, now that frost has killed the tops of most things.  Marshmallow root, elecampane, burdock, elecampane, dandelion and echinacea need to be dug, chopped, dried and tinctured, although a few of the roots will wait until spring, before they begin putting on new growth. 

We dug the sweet potatoes yesterday - despite the hot weather, they didn’t size up as much as I woudl have hoped, but the flavor was glorious, we roasted some to eat with greens and cheese sauce ysetrday, along with the freshly dug potatoes. I’m leaving the turnips, celeriac, salsify, jerusalem artichoke,  beets, leeks, carrots and others a little longer yet to sweeten with a few more frosts, but soon - very soon they will come in - along with half the parsnips (the rest stay in the garden for early spring).   The season of roots is here!

Lots of harvesting but not much planting.  The children collected all the green tomatoes and ripe hot peppers yesterday, and all that’s left in the garden are greens and roots, really.  There are a few flower that haven’t been toasted, and some herbs yet to harvest, but for the most part, the garden is winding down. 

The eggs are winding down too - we don’t light our hen house, and the hens are getting to the point of laying only a few eggs.  But that’s ok - it will pick up again after the new year, and I incline towards the theory that the rest is good for them.

Milk, however, we have aplenty - the only boys not weaned now are Stachys and Hemp, and those two will move up to the buck barn this week - we’re just waiting for Stachys to hit 8 weeks.  Basil and Hemp will be going to their new home soon after.  That leaves just the girls pestering their mothers for milk, but the mothers are increasingly bored with the nursing, and since the doelings are separated out at night, their Moms are giving us great vats of milk, which we are turning into cheese and yogurt, and still overwhelmed by.

Lots of things yet to do to get ready for winter and wind up the season - I feel behind due to the travel and the holidays, but all will come together.  There’s still a little time yet, and autumn ought to have some time for revelling in the year’s accomplishments too!

Plant something: Black cohosh, blue cohosh, fall raspberries, garlic, goldenseal, bloodroot, mayapple, partridgeberry.

Harvest something: green tomatoes, red tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant, kale, chard, beets, turnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spilanthes, marshmallow, burdock, dandelion, elecampane.

Preserve something: Last batch of raspberry jam, green tomato chutney, green tomato pickles, dried hot peppers, pickled beets, tinctured and dried various roots.

Waste Not: Usual composting and reducing of packaging and feeding of things to other things.  Eric seems finally to be making progress on getting scraps from the SUNY Cafeteria to feed our chickens as part of their local foods project.

Want Not: We both finally got new shoes, badly needed - Eric’s were really holey. 

Eat the Food: First pumpkin pie of the season, first batch of chicken soup, first batch of lentil soup, first pumpkin pancakes….the fall cooking is for real!

Build Community Food systems: Off to New Haven this weekend for a conference on urban adapting in place, gave a big talk about food at ASPO. 

How about you?