Growing Season Ends – How to Deal with Garden Withdrawal

I am planning to take this coming weekend (Sun-Willing) to lay the garden to rest, and plant some garlic to over-winter.

I felt a tinge of panic when I received this questionnaire in my inbox. Panic at the cold, hard truth that it will be at least 6 months before I begin to start seeds for next years garden. How have I survived every other winter of my life? Honestly, how do we do it? Simply hold on, distracting myself with holidays for as long as I can, then hopes for sun?

It’s not that I need to manipulate the dirt, it’s just so difficult to know that the earth is barren.  There is no possibility for creativity and growth until the sun decides to thaw her out. Here are some ideas to hold on to…

While you can, plant overwinter crops, like garlic.

To get my last gardening fix for 2010, I have purchased 4 or 5 cloves of locally grown, hard neck variety garlic from a local grocery store. I don’t see the need to buy special ‘seed garlic’ from a garden supply store. Perhaps I will know better by next year.

Pat (my landlord) was wonderful and plowed-under this seasons garden this morning, so I did not have to do it by hand this weekend.  I wish it was April instead of October! Look at all this potential…

Here is another great bit of information from Gardener’s Supply that I plan to utilize on Sunday – How to Plant Garlic.

Distract yourself with thoughts of preparation for next summer by joining a CSA.

You can join for a Fall/Winter share NOW.  You’ll be getting local vegetables, but of the sort that can before stored in a root cellar. Some CSA’s supplement with greenhouse grown greens and herbs, or even baked goods and cheeses.

You can also think ahead, and make your decision for next summer.  If you already plan to grow your own veggies (and are not a vegetarian) try a meat share. Jamie and I tried a few months from Applecheek Farm last Spring.  It seemed to round out to about $10 per pound.  And if you don’t grow your own (or enough) veggies to really keep away from the grocery store, try a vegetable CSA. There are SO many. And they are NOT expensive.

A few more ideas for the Burlington area:

Jericho Settler’s Farm – A bi-monthly share – you can also choose the ‘Settlervore’ package which includes cheese, eggs, bread and other goodies.

Pete’s Greens – Weekly, also offers localvore goodies.

Intervale – Many, many farms to choose from!

Grow sprouts inside.

Easy, but requires patience.  It’s fun to see snow outside, and green inside!

– I use a bit of seed starting soil, and place a small layer into any sort of container, even a pie plate or bread pan.

– Sprinkle any sort of seeds on top, from radishes to broccoli. Do not cover with soil.

– Soak a piece of paper towel or newspaper (the size of your container) and place it over the seeds.

– Place container in a dark place for 4-5 days. Pour about a tablespoon of water over the newspaper daily.

– Remove container from darkness, and remove paper. The seeds should have started to sprout, and you can place them in a sunny windowsill for a few more days, until they’re big enough to harvest!

– Harvest with scissors, so you do not get any dirt in your sprouts.

Talk to your houseplants.

I’m trying to keep my tulsi and rosemary alive through the winter.  I brought them home from the Kripalu Ayurvedic Garden.  I hope to continue to make cold-fighting teas from them all winter long.

Enjoy your frozen/canned harvest.

I was not able to put much away, but I did harvest the rest of my kale and carrots from the garden yesterday. The carrots are in the basement with the few delicata squash, and the kale I washed, chopped, then placed it in a plastic bag to go in my freezer.

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