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Home Gardens Uncategorized

November in the Garden

*Note: In light of the election results, seasonal rhythms, gardening, and food might seem unimportant.  My thoughts: to most effectively champion the causes we believe in, it is crucial that we stay grounded, healthy, inspired, and strong.  When we take time to nourish ourselves, we will find greater success in our work to make the world a better place.*

November is the month to finish up any last “to-dos” in the garden.  Though many of the tasks could be done in the spring, checking them off the list in November is a great way to close the growing season and set yourself up for an easy start to the next one.  November is also a more relaxing time to preserve any last vegetables and fruits from the garden, enjoy stored harvest, relax by the cozy fireplace, and take a bath!

I’m feeling tired but pleased after our first year gardening at our new home.  Years spent as cow pasture, Southern facing slopes, loamy soil, and high ground water all contributed to a huge harvest yield.  Of course, hours and hours of spring time weeding and early summer pest control helped too.

before-garden-to-bed
The garden after our first hard frost

We put the garden to bed this past weekend.  This involved pulling dead material out of the garden and piling it into a compost heap, thoroughly weeding the beds that work best for early spring planting, and covering bare rows and paths with grass clippings and hay.  Our garden site is exposed, so covering the beds with mulch will help keep our topsoil in place and protect it from being washed or blown away by the winter elements.

fallen-and-standing
The fallen (unripe tomatoes and watermelon) and the standing (kale and Brussels sprouts)
compost-heap
Dead plant material to be composted
after-garden-to-bed
Cleaned up and mulched garden rows, garnished with flourishing kale and hanging-on calendula and fennel.

In order to completely clean out their row, I harvested the last few cabbage to make kimchi.  The next day I chopped and pounded the cabbages along with ginger, garlic, turmeric, hot pepper, black pepper, and salt.  img_6813

After all that pounding, I decided to rest.  Out of curiosity, I started scanning back through this blog, reminiscing about the growing season and remembering the projects, harvests, and beautiful scenes from the past year.  What a surprise to discover last November tenth’s post: November in the Garden and Kitchen.  The subject?: Putting the garden to bed and making kimchi!  For me, this serves as a happy reminder of how settled into our new home and environment we are.  Today I am grateful to feel in synch with the natural rhythms of the home, yard, garden, field and forest I call home.

Categories
Home Gardens Musings Personal Sustainability: How-To

November in the Garden and Kitchen

Though we did have some cold windy weather and deep frosts, our first two November weekends have been clear and sunny.  Perfect for wrapping things up in the garden!  At our new house, we had part of our field tilled, hoed rows, and spread straw on top of everything.  We’re hoping that the garden will be in good shape for a first planting in the spring.  No doubt we’ll have lots of grass weeding ahead of us, but we’re off to a good start!

Ready to chop cabbage on a beautiful cutting board made by a friend
Ready to chop cabbage on a beautiful cutting board made by a friend
Moving up in the world: My dad made me a sauerkraut tamper with his lathe!
Moving up in the world: My dad made me a sauerkraut tamper with his lathe!

This past weekend I finally had time to turn our end-of-season harvests of kohlrabi, cabbage, and carrots into pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi.  I was excited to be able to use Vermont-grown ginger for the first time in my kimchi!  Maybe I’ll have to add it to our crop list next year.  I happily pounded away at the sliced cabbage with my new tamper and smasher: happy results of my dad’s recent experimentation on his new lathe.  Finally, in a team effort, we erected a fence around our new garden to deter the rabbits and herds of deer that pass through our land on their way from Mt. Philo to Lewis Creek.  It feels good to have all of our outdoor chores crossed off the list.  Bring on the snow – I’m ready for sledding season to start on our sunny slope of Mt. Philo!

Want to make Sauerkraut?  I lay out all the steps in this blog post.

Have other veggies from your last harvest that you’d like to ferment or pickle?  Check out this blog post.

Kimchi from all Vermont-grown veggies ready for the fridge and chopped cabbage on its way to becoming sauerkraut.
Kimchi from all Vermont-grown veggies ready for the fridge and chopped cabbage on its way to becoming sauerkraut.
Our new garden and garden fence!
Our new garden and garden fence!