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.