Planting time!!! (with a fabulous ending – keep reading)

It’s time to get dirty and PLANT something!

Yes, as in, planting food for you to eat. I am relatively new (I’ve tried the last two years and failed) to the idea of a 3- or 4-season garden, but I’m totally infatuated with it. I can’t get the idea out of my head. And even though I’m prepping Turbo for kindergarten (yikes!), our summer garden is ready for harvest and processing (lots of pickled beets and ketchup go through my house), and I’m tired (dog days of summer, three-month-old, and all that), I still obsess over the idea of putting more food in the ground.

What are the obvious things to plant? Well, plenty of “spring” vegetables grow great in the fall. We have already put in Fall carrots and beets, and are getting ready to plant our Fall spinach and lettuce and my favorite stir-fry mix and radishes and “spring” onions and anything else I think of. You could put in peas, turnips, brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage) though they all take a bit longer and require a bit more planning.

But you know what else you can do for next year? Garlic! Put in garlic in October, and come June of next year you have beautiful crop of garlic with almost no effort. Onions? Put in the seeds a month or two before your first frost and you can have early onions without dealing with sets or starts! Spinach? Even spinach can go in a few weeks before frost to get you ready for an early spring harvest.

And the secret? Lots of these things grow better in the fall, especially if you live in a place like we do. The days get cooler with the growth of the plant, so you don’t worry about it going to seed (bolting) as quickly. The bugs seems to be less noxious this time of year also, and rain more frequent, which in our high desert garden, is a blessing! And finally, many of these foods can survive a decent frost and still be harvestable, so you could be eating from your garden until Thanksgiving!

But, I’m kind of a gardening geek (horticulture was my first college degree). Nothing is better than cursing that lower back sunburn I got from weeding with a shirt that was slightly too short and having a million too many beans to eat. I would love, love, love some Eliot Coleman (the unofficial king of 4-season gardening) books (I keep raiding the library, but there is always a wait).  I think seed ordering is exciting and it makes me goofy in the spring- and yes, I almost always order my seeds from the same place (keep reading, it’s worth it).

This same place is RareSeeds.com. If you get their glossy catalog in the spring (Baker Creek Seeds), it’s beautiful and CHOCK full of a bajillion kinds of seeds for everything. And they’re all heirloom varieties, which means Monsanto (theoretically) isn’t getting a lick of money from you, and you can save your seeds if you know how to do it and care to. But why would you when seeds are super cheap? That’s why I love seeds. For the cost of a bunch of broccoli, I can experiment with something, and if I like it, I might get a TON of food from that many seeds.

So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. I have arranged with rareseeds.com to GIVE AWAY A 10-pack of FALL SEEDS, which can also be planted in the Spring (keep them in a zipper storage bag in the fridge until then) if you don’t get to them now!  And I’ll be honest, I’ve been so happy with these seeds, that I wish I could win! But I can’t, sorry, only you can.

And secondly, here’s another bit of exciting news. They have a restaurant from which they have compiled a cookbook, The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook, coming out in September.  I’m super excited that I’ll be reviewing it and giving one away as it come closer to release. You could be that lucky winner, but if you don’t want to hedge your bets, you can pre-order the book now AND they’ll include three packets of culinary herb seeds fer free! yeah, i just typed fer, but I’m in farmer mode so it’s legit.

Rules of Engagement:

1- You must be a follower of this blog, if you don’t know how to do that, there is a “Follow blog via email” button at the top column to the right. This contest is open to followers living in the U.S. only (I’m pretty sure there are rules about shipping seeds across borders – nothing personal).

2- You must like this post (click on the title name of this post, then go to the bottom of the post just above comments and push the like button), 

3- You must tell me in the comments below one your favorite memories of eating fresh grown food – you know you remember that first raspberry from grandma’s prickly berry patch – totally worth it!

Winner will be announced Wednesday 8/15/2012 (only five days so we can get seeds out!) and needs to contact me within 24 hours so we can get stuff mailed.

46 thoughts on “Planting time!!! (with a fabulous ending – keep reading)

  1. Oooh, you must be a mind reader because just two days ago I was just thinking about late season plantings and considering what I want to put in the ground here in the Northeastern part of the US. I’ve got a huge list and many seeds that I have left over that I’ve saved from years past. I read an article in the August edition of “Grit” magazine on the very same topic just yesterday.

    My favorite memories of gardens, growing foods, picking fresh foods are of when we would go from our city life out to visit my grandfather who lived on a farm several hours away and we always had the job of picking fresh strawberries and corn. We always shared the work with everyone except my father and grandfather in the preparation and everything we ate came from what he produced on the farm. It was quite an experience for us city girls and we were in awe.

    I think I just might order the vegan cookbook even though I’ve got a huge old china cabinet full of cookbooks and all sorts of food type books; from canning to learning to foraging and identification of all sorts of plants.

    You’re a doll for all your good work here on your blog!

    • I’ll have to look up that grit article. I can always use more sources, and as for cookbooks…i totally get it! I love those memories you have with your grandfather’s farm. It’s remarkable how such simplicity can awe us.

  2. My favorite memory of eating fresh grown food was strawberry picking with my family when I was about 5, possibly younger. I had a basket and thought I was being sly by eating far more than I collected. Apparently, as much as I had eaten, twice that amount was smeared across my face and shirt. I didn’t fool anyone.
    Love your blog!

  3. My earliest “real food” moment was as a preschooler with blueberries. My grandparents live in middle of nowhere in the Adirondacks. When we would visit them in the summer, we would roam around and pick wild blueberries to our heart’s content. One time, after we got home, my mother tried putting cultivated blueberries in my yogurt and I started crying. These weren’t real blueberries, they were big and mushy and didn’t taste good!

    • Love wild blueberries and sometimes get to pick them when visiting my in-laws in New England. Isn’t it amazing how different fresh and wild can be from cultivated and average?

    • And I’ll be you came in with a purple-y smeared face! My kids came home today with rosy lips and faces and I grinned, hoping they’d remember this when they were older.

      • We used to have a couple of mulberry trees up the street and always looked forward to mulberry time. We would walk up the street in our bare feet and stuff ourselves full of strawberries then come home with blue and purple lips, faces, hands and feet. We ate quite a few unripened mulberries whilst we were waiting for them to ripen up. I loved climbing those trees too. It was nice they weren’t really tall.

    • Winter is so hard! We have a community garden plot, so to get out of our house to go chase fresh greens or something is awfully difficult when really, a cup of tea sounds much better.

  4. Favorite “memory” is last years tomato harvest – 6 plants yielded 100lbs of tomatoes! I turned those into tomato sauce that I used all year until this years harvest with is still ongoing. LOVE my garden!

    • What a fantastic harvest! Our tomatoes are struggling this year, but we have hope for recovery! There is nothing better than opening a jar of love in the middle of winter!

  5. I don’t want (but thank you) the book but the question reminded me of my nonna’s garden and the taste of a tomato right off her vines. Yummmmm. :)

    • I think there is a definite grandparent theme here – those memories of eating fresh food our grandparents grew…maybe it planted that seed in all of us that makes food important! Who knew there was so much power in something so simple as real food?
      Are you interested in the seeds giveaway? The book giveaway is next month.

    • We used to get to sneak out of school to go strawberry picking for jam. We felt so subversive getting out of school, but homemade jam and fresh wheat bread were little bits of heaven!

  6. One of my favorite homegrown food stories is not from my childhood but from my son’s earlier childhood. When he was about 3 I started teaching him names of plants and we would walk in the garden and I would let him taste things. He would stuff his mouth so full of grape tomatoes that when he closed his mouth seeds would squirt out and down the front of his shirt. Then he began picking herbs to smell and asked if he could taste them. With permission he found that rosemary was his favorite! Many good memories with my boy outside in the garden.

    • I can’t tell you how reading your memory made me smile! I could almost see that little squishy mouth and all of the herb sampling. My son likes smelling and learning all the plant names and smelling and tasting. I love watching them learn.

  7. I think my favorite memories come from my kids. My parents tore out our huge garden when I was young and put in a swimming pool. I love when my kids can pick something off the vine and pop it right in their mouth. It gives me warm fuzzies.

      • That sounds so amazing – perhaps I should go to brazil. And you’re saying I should be grateful to have both a pool and a fantastic garden? Isn’t it fun to watch your babies love the food though? I am finding it one of my favorite parenting experiences.

  8. Ugh, you make me wish thagt we had a garder even harder than I already do. We live in a condo, so, no dice. . .

    I vaguely remember picking blackberries (funny you used that example) at my great-aunt’s farm. One for the basket, one for me. Two for the basket, one, two for me. I also remember that we had a sour cherry tree in our backyard in the ‘burbs. Those were terrible and delicious all at the same time. For some reason, I just kept eating them. . .

    Thanks for those memories, I had forgotten many of them.

    • You will need a better excuse than living in a condo. We’re in a two bedroom townhouse with a deck out back and no sun. Two words: Community Garden! Although, they’re tricky what with rules, size regs and what-not, but with your summers more free than others, you could do it if you had one nearby. Or find someone you know with a yard and share it and split the haul (there’s always too much) or better yet, get one going at your school?
      My kids picked some huge fat blackberries with my mom yesterday and I am hoping that forever and ever they can have those memories. Glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I have been wandering down my own as well.

  9. I am a gardening seed obessesed fool too! I have to check out rare seeds- I love heirlooms and I do save my own seeds when I have the chance :) My favorite memory is being in the garden with my Dad which I still spend time with him in the Garden to this day.

    I am a follower of this blog and I tried to like the post but am not able too – sorry!

  10. I follow you and liked this post.

    My favorite fresh food memory is making pesto with my mom – she would have us grow the basil, water it daily and then harvest it! We would make huge batches, freeze it in order to eat it throughout the year!

    • My mom (who lives 2000 miles away but is visiting) and I did this just three days ago. I can’t wait for february and my memories of basil harvesting with her. Love those memories!

  11. With gardening for 30 years it’s hard to pick just one memory. I guess some of the best ones are seeing the children picking and eating the “firsts” of the season…..the first peas, first green beans, first tomato, etc. But the best “first” is that one of my children ALWAYS brings in the first asparagus spear for me to eat (raw). Puts a smile on both our faces.

    So glad to have found your blog this morning through Baker Creek on facebook. I liked this post, am now a follower and shared it on FB too.Thanks for the chance to win the awesome seed collection.

    ~~Anne

  12. I think my favorite memory was running around the garden as a kid, eating all of the fresh carrots, beans, and corn straight from the plants! My parents were lucky to get avery big harvest with me around. The same went for the white peach tree.

  13. I’m not a vegan, but I recognize that I don’t have to have/serve a non-vegan meal every time. My favorite memories? That first radish in the spring, right out in the garden, just wipe the dirt off and munch! Best, though is seeing the kids and grandkids head for the pea patch as soon as they pull into the driveway! I don’t get to fill the freezer with a lot pf peas, but I do get to fill my family with lots of food memories from grampa’s garden!

  14. I love Baker Creek seeds – it’s all I use. I just found your blog via their facebook page, and am excited to keep reading. Thanks for all the fall gardening tips (My fondest fresh food memory is picking and eating raw asparagus with my dad in our little city garden when I was little.)

  15. Growing up in the 50’s, neighbors used to sit around Ben C.’s back yard; we’d gather & help shuck corn, shell butter pea butter beans (OMG good!), black eyed peas, we’d help prepare the “pick of the day” and were always rewarded with farm fresh produce for our families. I can still remember the treat of those soft, sweet buttery butter pea butter beans, followed by fresh tomato that my mother had to bribe me to try because I was convinced I did not like them; now that experience has turned me into the neighborhood “tomato queen!”

  16. I love Bakers Heirloom Seeds & I’m close enough to go there at least once a season. Also, my favorite memory of fresh is when my dad would be working in the watermelon patch and drop one. There were lots of kids but we would all get a piece, let the juice run down our chins & see who could spit the seeds the farthest. I remember that the warmth of the melon made me think I was also eating sunshine. Guess I was!

  17. Ooo yea… It’s good to think back. What was my early experiences with garden fresh goodies?? I grew up in Anchorage, AK and although one could definitely grow many varieties of delicious goodies, my parents were both very busy with their work at the hospital and chose not to do so. Probably my best memories as a child were the frequent excursions three doors down to my neighbors house to raid his rhubarb patch. Oh how I loved that sour/tang/cruch!! Being that he lived alone in that big house
    he expressed happiness to see me and my joy at savoring the delicious rhubarb! Then again, there was the adventure of discovering the rogue strawberry patch growing along the fence-line in our back yard… What, strawberries? in my back yard? for free??? Oh the memories of child. Thank You for inspiring them.

  18. My first favorite memory was very early on. I grew up just outside of Plant City, FL – the heart of strawberry growing. It coincidentally happened that strawberries were my favorite food, too. As a special outing, my folks drove us out to a u-pick strawberry field. I can’t remember a lot, but I remember that I kept shoveling strawberries into my mouth. Something along the lines of, one for the basket and a handful for me. Even with my lack of contribution, we loaded the back of the station wagon with flats and flats of strawberries. I remember napping amongst the flats happily, until they started stopping at friend’s houses to give away the surplus. “Noooooooooooooooo!!!!”

  19. I’ll never forget my grandmother’s huge garden she always has every year! She just turned 80 a couple days ago and still till this day has a huge garden that she manages to have on her own! When I was a young girl we would walk out into the garden everyday to pick what we were going to cook up for dinner. I will never forget walking out into the cornfield to pick fresh corn amidst the gorgeous North Carolina mountains among other things such as pulling up potatoes and picking green beans straight from the vine. My grandmother and I would sit on the porch and string all the beans we were going to eat later for dinner. There’s nothing quite like being able to eat straight from your own garden! I am trying to manifest a very similar situation in my life. Tried this year for the second time to have a garden, and I did container gardening this time. Still a lot to learn as I work my way to being able to create and manage a garden. Remaining hopeful that as I am persistent it will all come to a happy balance in harmony with the earth. Here’s to dreams and being able to manifest those dreams! <3

  20. My first time on a farm in my early 20s (2006) changed my life forever. I will never forget standing next to a blackberry tangle ten times taller than me, covered in blackberries, eating until I was weak, grinning, and bloated as f#%$. I couldn’t believe that people who live away from cities get to eat fresh, unbelievably delicious food right out of their yards. Two weeks ago, I celebrated my one-year anniversary of relocating from a city to a tiny town. I eat yogurt I make myself with fresh fruit I gather from taking a walk around my neighborhood. I’ve never been happier.

  21. we always had a small garden in the backyard when i was growing up. i remember the lovely summer days wandering into the yard after playing and eating chives, catnip & sweet peas fresh from the earth!! i want to create that environment for my son to grow up with as well… with quite a bit more of a harvest~ i would love to feed my family predominantly from our garden!! maybe next year :)

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