Wednesday, November 5, 2008

my zombie garden: still coming back to life long after I killed it

My garden has been pulled out and bedded down for weeks now. Piles of chicken coop straw, old broc plants, dead flowers, and frosty sunflower stalks now fill the compost bins that once only held food scraps and eggshells. Readers of this blog know over the last few weeks we've even seen the first snowfalls come into Vermont (a real slap in the face to gardeners...) But that doesn't mean I'm still not enjoying the summer's work. Between the tomatoes I put up and the pumpkins that have been sitting off the vine for weeks, I'm still enjoying those May seeds.

This past week I made pasta sauce and pumpkin desserts. Both done without canning since the toms were in the freezer and the pumpkins have been sitting on my porch since August. (In hindsight, I wish I had canned some of the big heirlooms only because of how much fresher they taste in a single-serving pot of sauce.) But my tomatoes were thrown to the freezer for a big sauce canning day up ahead. One future weekend I'll thaw them all out and make as many jars of sauce as I can stock my pantry with. I learned in Idaho how great it is to enjoy a bright red fruit from the garden on evenings so cold your pipes freeze.

I didn't get a harvest to brag about this year, but I'm not letting that discourage me. I'm a stubborn gal. If I had sweated and bitched a whole summer and only ended up with one potato, I'd still really enjoy that potato. I'm still new to gardening, and mistakes will be made, but I'm amazed that even a schmuck like me shooting from the hip with books and advice from friends can still manage a decent pile of food in a poor summer. So if you're considering a garden in the spring, but not sure you have the chops for it, don't fret. You can grow something. You should grow something.

The humble armful of pumpkins I did grow proved delicious to bake with and fun to carve on Halloween. Which was a big deal to me. Certain things like pumpkins or eggs seem surreal the first time you grow your own. Like you're cheating the system by getting them from the backyard instead of a market. You can't help but smile with a little homegrown subversive. I'll be celebrating more pumpkin anarchy by baking delicious pies and treats with what's left of my squash. I've been using the book Pumpkins, by DeeDee Stovel for other ideas too. It's a bang-up job of a cookbook just for pumpkins with all meal recipes from pasta to cookies in it. It's been living on my kitchen table for a couple of weeks now. Inspiring me to keep cranking through the orange kids on the porch. think I'll make the pumpkin sugar cookies tonight. Who doesn't love cookies? I bet they go great with coffee...

P.S. that image at the top is one of Yee-haw industries awesome handmade letterpress cards in their farmer's market series. I love these guys, I used to visit their shop in Knoxville and still remain good friends with one of their old printers (Hi Leif) Find them and their great art like products here.


Blogger Mare said...

I'm already planning a garden for next year. I have very little land available here but as i was sitting in the barren, mud filled "dog yard" i thought, why not container gardens in here!?? So that's the plan! I'm definite on tomatoes, green beans, lots of basil and other herbs, and we'll see what else!

November 6, 2008 at 1:09 PM  

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