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Posts Tagged ‘fall gardening’

Bittersweet is a vine that grows in Minnesota which every fall bursts into bright orange glorious berries, which are beautiful but poisonous.  Some species of the plant are considered noxious weeds which overpower even the largest pine.  Bittersweet also means taking the good along with the bad, or the happy along with the sad, and is exactly how I feel at the end of every fall when I am cleaning out my garden.  By the first part of August, I usually run out of both time and energy, and the weeds have pretty much taken over everything.  By mid-October, sporadic frost has usually killed off most of the plants, and my beautiful green garden, which just a month ago was punctuated by the bright orange of pumpkins and the red and yellow of the last of the tomatoes, has become a Halloween graveyard of sorts.   For those of you who live south of here, and that is just about everybody, this time of year might mean you are still enjoying fall. Here in the north, it could become winter at any moment, and we don’t want to be caught with our pants down or our tomato cages up.  As I pulled up dead plants and seemingly endless handfuls of weeds, I was surprised to find a few garden goodies which made for some good eating.  Those of you who keep a weed-free pristine garden will probably never be surprised by a handful of hardy yellow pear tomatoes that were safely cocooned within a tent of falling-down corn stalks.  Those of you who have the time and the inclination to pull up and toss your broccoli plants at the first signs of frost have never enjoyed their bright yellow flowers or tasted the tender new growth that the nip of frost only sweetens. The cabbages that were too tiny to bother with a month ago had a growth spurt and I can add them to the stockpile. (Garden journal note to self:  If you plan to make lots of sauerkraut and plant 25 cabbage plants,  FOLLOW THROUGH with said  plan, or your fridge and everyone else’s will smell like cabbage.)  I left the Brussels sprouts for the squirrels and mice, as they didn’t have the same growth spurt as their larger cousins.  Despite my friend’s suggestion of cutting the tiny little things off the stalks and serving them like peas, I thought that God’s little woodland creatures would relish them more than HIM, who would rather eat a bowl of steamed and seasoned golf balls than Brussels sprouts.  Not that I ever get them to grow that big. Most surprising to find were two large second-growth celery bunches, their leaves so large and bright green that I am surprised that I didn’t trip over them as I pulled up the last tomato cage.  They will play a starring role in tonight’s apple and cabbage salad. The last of the heirloom pole beans that I left on the vine to dry will be saved and replanted next spring, after a long winter of sitting by the fire, eating cabbage soup, stuffed cabbage, and coleslaw, and of course, planning next year’s garden.  I guess this Farm Woman life is more sweet than bittersweet after all.

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