It’s nearing mid July, and the veg gardens act like someone finally threw the “ON” switch. Just this morning I saw that the one wildling volunteer pumpkin (always a couple every year in the compost) has now climbed up and partially over the 5′ tall garden fence. Good morning!

This makes me happy, of course, but mostly it makes me feel a bit panicky. I should be saving all this green bounty, I think. And I do. Before the madness of squash/bean/tomato/eggplant/pepper/cucumber season starts, I am harvesting the first rounds of the onion and cabbage families. And I am making a lot of frozen herb concoctions.

Somehow, I have had a banner year for most things (knock wood). Celery is growing well, but the celeriac is a failure this year. Same culture, same date of planting, one is going nuts, one’s a no-show. I will notice this peripherally, that things I planted 3 years ago came up great, 2 years ago okay, last year sporadically and somehow don’t consider that, say, celeriac seed doesn’t keep 4 years (idiot) so it’s like the stuff is finally politely saying “it’s not you, El, it’s me.” What a letdown. But back to the celery. I am making celery/onion/garlic minces, and freezing them in small plastic tubs. Persillade, too, with cutting celery, Italian (flat-leaved) parsley, and garlic, with a few celery leaves thrown in. As a from-scratch cook, a few scoopfuls dug out of the tub with a grapefruit spoon in mid-winter adds just the right oomph to a pot of beans or to finish up a soup. It’s not as great as the fresh stuff, but then I can’t expect to have fresh celery here in January. (Or can I?)

So. Don’t stop at basil in the icecube trays. Cilantro can likewise be minced and frozen, as can any fleshy joyfully summery herb. Get chopping, boys and girls: winter is long, and it’ll be here before you know it!

15 responses to “Bang!

  1. Please don’t remind us about winter 😉 I’m having a problem admitting we’re in the latter half of July and here you’re talking winter already 😉

  2. I’m with Jason, bah humbug on the winter talk.

  3. I’m thinking celery harvested late might make it to January but not much later. We had quite a bit still growing right into mid November last year and if I’d thought about it I would have put it in my garage equivalent to a root cellar.

    With regard to renegade pumpkins, really, they scare me silly. I’m in the garden beating back ‘Audrey’ daily to keep her from devouring the beans. She’s about fifteen feet long now and is going to climb right up over the fence and out into the yard.

  4. This year I had volunteer butternut squash vines. Yum! So far I’ve harvested 3, with about 6 more on the vines. Wonder how you keep them in Mobile, Alabama? We’ve got no cool dark places until, oh say, December!

  5. Can’t I just lie here in the sun a little while longer?

    (We’ve got onions and celery going into the freezer today, actually. Can’t tell whether I’m the grasshopper or the ant.)

  6. I have potatoes growing in my compost. They must be growing in moss. Or grass… Or apples. Who needs soil anyway?… Weird.

  7. When you make up these herb combinations & freeze them, do they last well into winter, or do they get freezer burned? After all, January is 6 months away. If they would remain tasty for that long, I would do the same thing.

  8. Sorry, Jason! Just giving you an inkling into my panic.

    Michele, oh but it is months away. Right now is one of those rare periods though between major harvests/canning jags so I try to take the long view.

    Thanks, Bobbi! I love my garden.

    Alecto, Audrey must have a couple of cousins that live here. I adore how much they grow though. Just gotta put them in a place where it doesn’t matter to you. Thanks on the celery tips: I usually have mine yanked out by then, as it’s usually pretty woody. But it still tastes like what it is. As long as I have enough for stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey, I am happy.

    Jules, you’re lucky! Though I would imagine inside your house is the coolest place of all, living in A/C country?

    CC, you’re both. I know what you mean, though. This in-between time of harvesting (no squash for us yet) means I just run around like a worried ant. So go sit in the sun!

    Hiya Thomas. Check on the potatoes here too. And tomatoes and many many ??? squash. Gotta be ruthless with the latter but potatoes are kind of a gift from the compost gods.

    Artemisia, yeah, they’re fine. There’s a bit of water mixed in with them. I put them in the deep freeze (the chest freezer is lots colder than a regular upright freezer) until I need them in, say, December, then I put them in the kitchen freezer. Yes, though, your point is well taken. I still do have parsley and garlic in January, just not in abundance.

  9. What do you plant for your fall crop?
    I’ve done a garden every year, but never planted half-way through the summer for those things I want to harvest in the late fall.
    I’m trying to figure out when to plant our peas again. It says “2 months before expected frost date”… so mid-August?
    Anything else you plant this way?
    And can I ask where you purchased your greenhouse from?

  10. Hello Amanda. Yep, it’s time to think about fall crops. So tomorrow I will post about both succession planting and fall planting; stay tuned. I got the greenhouse from Growers’ Solution. They were very helpful, though their instructions had been copied so much they were hard to read. Luckily, it’s not rocket science. I will be ordering greenhouse #2 from them next month!

  11. Nice to have found your blog as I searched for advice on thinning/trimming squash/other vines. Your posts make me laugh.

    Left my small (6 inch) squash/pumpkin/melon plants while on a 2 week vacation — came back to the patch that was 2-3 feet high and plants 20 feet long.

    This is my fourth year gardening. I too have found that life is too short… I am so happy to have found the wonders of gardening & growing my own food. Each year, my garden gets more interesting & my timing gets better. But sooo many things to learn. I guess the strength of pumpkins is one lesson for this year. My family used to grow all of our own food. My mom wasn’t a hippie, just old-school. It’s amazing how much knowledge we lost during the 70s and 80s.

    BTW, my background is urban planning, I’m 35 & people call me El. Nice to meet you. (I’m a small city farmer of sorts.)

    Onto some composting work for the day.

  12. Hiya El…eanore! Wow, how funny. Isn’t it amazing how much of a learning curve there is with food growing? Professionally, yeah, urban planning and architecture are of course deep subjects worthy of a life’s pursuit but gardening! Farming! Now there’s some fun sweat, with the side benefit of being able to eat it all. I was a small city farmer too until we moved here…I was 38 at the time so you’ve got a few years ahead of you~! Anyway, I’m glad you piped up. Welcome to the blog.

  13. Great idea on the cilantro. I hadn’t thought of it but now I’ll be singing your praises in the winter. Mainly I wanted to say hi, as I’m catching up on your blog. I always enjoy my blog time on the farm and learn something new. Thank you.

  14. Hello Ms K! I am glad you said hi. Come back and chat anytime. I am glad to learn of your plums. Have you gone and put your fruit harvester in your car, as I have? Low-hanging fruit, indeed. Yum.

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