Week No. 16 – 2012 Season

Miracles living in a garden or field never become commonplace

Plants become for us what our children are, long after the kids have grown up and gone out on their own. Simply put, we love them. I’ve never found miracles, even those repeated each season in a garden, to be commonplace. Each is unique. Each is so beautiful. Most people are admittedly cut off from direct, nurturing relationships to plants. They will probably have great difficulty understanding what we feel for plant life. For me, the word “frost” evokes a grief and dread akin to fear for the life of a loved one. Imagine what it is like to transform a pile of boxes full of seeds on the floor of a room in your house into 12 acres of beautiful plants. Imagine tending them so much and so long that they seem a permanent part of your space, time, life. Then, suddenly, it is all threatened with death from frost. Those 75-, 100-, 250-. 400-foot long garden beds raised up over 8 months of very hard work – are all going to shrivel, blacken, freeze to death from a sudden fall in temperature. I don’t think I’ll ever fully steel myself to the grief I feel each autumn when cold inevitably returns and takes so many plants from us. We have, gratefully, gotten a little better each year at tending at least some of the cool-season varieties well into November. We do this with both high and low tunnel coverings of Agri-bond, plastic and metal hoops. Yet it’s troubling trying to decide what gets saved in September (with the limited resources we have) from the first bouts we fight with frost. This, and the inevitable denial we go through, marked our past week at Scotch Hill Farm with the first southern Wisconsin forecast of “patchy frost” Tuesday night. We harvested all the peppers, tomatoes and eggplant we could from plants still laden with bounty. We began the annual digging of our sweet potatoes, which can suffer damage through a blackened, frozen vine. And then we laid out metal hoops and covered as many plants as we could with floating row cover, held down by metal T-posts and rocks on every side. Friends, neighbors, relatives and volunteers pitched into help Katie, Lindsey, Dela and me. We did the best that we humanly could to protect our plants from harm. We give up these lives into the hands of Providence. This weekend –For some unexplainable reason, our mid-month workday was listed on the website as this coming weekend, not last weekend. If you still want to come help out, or to preserve and can vegetables with Dela, you can do so this Saturday, Sept. 22. Bring a dish to potluck and a beverage of your choice. Join us as early as 10 a.m. Stay a few hours or the entire day. We wind down around 4 p.m. to allow folks who’ve traveled a distance time to comfortably get home. Camp the night if you like.

This Week’s Vegetables greatly exceed the 8 to 10 varieties we promised, including:

  • Endive
  • Cabbage OR Cabbagettes
  • Assorted, large tomato varieties (2.5 lbs.
  • Garden Extra (every bag contains something different)
  • Juliet and Sungold tomatoes (3/4  lbs.)
  • Beets
  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Bok Choi
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash
  • Peppers (a mix of colored sweet peppers and hot peppers, especially Beaver Dam)

Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook

Cooking Tips for the Week

From Charleston Recipes, 1950  Stuffed Eggplant Cut one large eggplant in two. Scrape out the inside and put in saucepan with ½ cup minced ham. Cover with water and boil until soft. Drain and add 2 tablespoons grated bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon butter, ½ onion minced, salt and pepper to taste. Fill each half of hull with mixture. Add a small lump of butter and bake for 15 minutes. Or, if preferred, omit the ham and use more bread crumbs, mixing with beaten yokes of two eggs. Serves 4.