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The Bay Gardener’s Thanksgiving

Thanks to my garden, we eat fresh and well all year long

This year’s fall vegetable garden has been a success.
    From seeds I planted in mid-July, I harvested three pickings of peas as well as two pickings of Crocket snap beans, the best variety I’ve tried yet. Crocket pods are round like a pencil, dark green and grow six or seven inches long. They are sweet and crisp and freeze well. For years I had grown Contender, but I have become a true believer in Crocket. I planted some in the spring and made several harvests, but the fall crop was even better.
    The kale and the collards have been outstanding. This year I tried the Siberian kale, which I now prefer over curly kale. The Siberian is guaranteed to produce all winter long into spring. Some of the Brussel’s sprouts will be ready for Thanksgiving, and nearly all the crop will be ready for harvest by Christmas.
    The lettuce crop has been exceptional. Butter crunch, Great Lakes and Red Chief are all performing well. The cool weather has made the Red Chief exceptionally red, making for a colorful salad.
    The first batch of spinach drowned from too much rain, but the second batch is growing well with some of the plants to be harvested for Thanksgiving dinner.

      Even Kids Will     
   Eat These Greens   

Both kale and collard greens are at their prime and make for good eating. De-vain and chop greens and pour one inch of water into a two-quart kettle. Add greens, cover, bring to a boil and simmer. While the greens are simmering, chop two or three slices of bacon into bits and stir-fry to crispy brown. Pour grease and bits into the simmering greens; add two tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, stir and cover to simmer until the water is almost gone. Taste and add one to two tablespoons of light brown sugar to taste before serving. Wow!

    The carrot crop has also been exceptional. Now that the soil is cooling down, the carrots are sweet and extra crunchy. We are digging them from the garden as needed. 
    I have a garden full of dill greens, and there is nothing like fresh dill on mashed or boiled potatoes or on stewed tomatoes. Just before we get a hard freeze, I will dig and pot up a few dill plants for the greenhouse for fresh dill through mid winter.
    This year I tried growing a sweet pepper called Sweet Giant Red. It’s an old banana-type variety that turns red just as it begins to mature. It is a heavy yielder of excellent flavor. By the time of the first hard frost, the plants were four feet tall and still producing heavily. I have never grown a sweet pepper that produces such high yields, though it is not good for stuffing. Since it comes true from seed, I plant on planting more next spring.
    My only crop failures were cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and beets.  The prolonged heavy rains caused all of these crops to rot in my heavy soil.
    The heavy and prolonged rain delayed the cabbage, broccoli and kohlrabi, but I have started harvesting cabbage and will start harvesting broccoli and kohlrabi.
    I’ve seeded the now-vacant areas in the garden with winter rye to incorporate into the soil next spring, two weeks or more before planting.
    With winter on the way, most of our fresh vegetables will come from our cold frame, which I’ve planted in radishes and walking onions. As soon as the radishes are harvested, the winter spinach crop will be transplanted in.
    In our climate, as long as you work at your garden, it will feed you.