Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Veggies and Recipes

Pumpkin in Store Window with Blessings and Books
Look for Blessings & You'll Find Them

Warm Days, Cool Nights

October is the quintessential transitional month as temperatures fluctuate from balmy to chilly. The beauty of a warm sunny day is all the more precious as we contemplate the imminent dark and cold. Let us take time for revelry, both in the garden and in the kitchen. Enjoy the last of the tomatoes, peppers, and beans, while welcoming wintry squashes and pumpkins. Try a different assortment of apples or pears from the Farmers’ Market. Take advantage of cooler weather to set small chard and kale plants out below the fading zucchini leaves. Check out the glorious October sunsets.

Home gardeners might want to make some notes this month about which plant varieties worked well in which areas of the garden this year, and which didn’t. For example, after growing the world’s tiniest beefsteak tomato (barely one inch) in full sun, I’m ready to give up on that variety, at least if I continue to grow my tomatoes in large pots. Making notes now will save time and brain-power when it comes time to plant again next spring. You might also take notes on any unusual weather events and which month they occurred during the summer, since these could have an impact on your garden.

Branch full of red and yellow berries
Pyrocanthus Berries Ripening
One of my favorite crops to pick up at the Farmers’ Market this month is fresh cranberry or pinto beans. This year I even found fresh canelli beans. Cook them up now or shell them and freeze them for a delicious alternative to dried beans with no presoaking required. They take about an hour to cook (canelli beans about 45 minutes,) which makes them perfect in soups and stews. Or cook them chili style and use them with your favorite Mexican recipes.

One more gardening note for tomato-growers: I’ve heard from several sources this year that green tomatoes can be ripened in the house when frost threatens, or when tomatoes stop ripening as sunlight decreases. Simply wrap up your tomatoes in newspaper, put in a paper bag, and store in a dark place. Check their ripeness periodically. An old man with a big garden told me that he stores his under the bed and has ripe tomatoes in December. This might be an exaggeration, but it’s worth trying out! As we harvest our last fruits and veggies of the year, and as some of us plant our winter gardens, let us pause to give thanks for our bountiful harvests.

Red, Yellow, and Green Maple Leaves on Trees
Fall Color in Felton
October Fruits and Veggies

Basil (end of season)
Italian Herbs (end of season)
Yellow Aspens Blowing in Wind
Classic Fall Aspens
Mint (end of season)
Pinto Beans (fresh)
Strawberries (a few left in coastal CA)

Favorite and New October Recipes

Honeybee on Mexican Sage
Honeybees Still Active this Month
Harvest Vegetable Chowder
Garden Swiss Steak
Baked Cabbage (with tomatoes)
Apple Stuffed Delicata Squash
Buckwheat Stuffed Zucchini
Ginger Peanut Green Beans
Applesauce Multigrain Muffins

Tiny White Spider on Rose
Autumn Warm Day Garden Visitor

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