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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Gardening: (2016– )

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Back from 3 weeks in Italy. I thought I had a picker volunteer while I was gone, but no evidence of it. I feel lucky to have been able to pick this today. Things are winding down quickly, except the shishto peppers are heavy with fruit and blossoms. It looks like the weather was friendly while we were away. Fingers crossed to have fresh silver queen from local farms 1 or 2 more times this season. I recently bought a new freezer and have been putting a little away for the winter each time we have it with dinner.

HC

IMG_1955.JPG


Edited by HungryChris (log)
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5 hours ago, HungryChris said:

Back from 3 weeks in Italy. I thought I had a picker volunteer while I was gone, but no evidence of it. I feel lucky to have been able to pick this today. Things are winding down quickly, except the shishto peppers are heavy with fruit and blossoms. It looks like the weather was friendly while we were away. Fingers crossed to have fresh silver queen from local farms 1 or 2 more times this season. I recently bought a new freezer and have been putting a little away for the winter each time we have it with dinner.

HC

IMG_1955.JPG

 

Welcome home, Chris!   I sure enjoyed all of  your pics during your trip.

 

You had to have some kind of pickage going on or else your zucchini would have been larger than baseball bats :) 

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On 9/20/2016 at 4:44 PM, Tere said:

I uploaded a ton of photos and just realised it was too much, so have a status report instead. 

 

The herb border is progressing fine - everything looks like it will overwinter, my ailing rescue bay tree is back to normal, the swiss mint is very happy. Berry patch has not harvested apart from a few from the lingonberries, which look very happy. Everything was tiny though and the cranberry is clearly happy. Might move the aronia next year but a year establishing will not hurt them.

 

Flower bed is going crazy, I have been cropping more cosmos and cornflower than I could ever use since June and they are still going. Scabious are not worth their slot. Nigella are if you don't consider other crops but crop at the same time and never got used. I am growing them on for winter interest in a seed pod display. Wouldn't bother again. Sweet pea are terrible. I suspect I need an earlier start and more organic matter. Asters are a surprisingly good value crop. Nasturtiums got ravaged by Cabbage White caterpillars but the seeds (which I was growing them for) are reclaimed and pickled. Next year I might use more leaves in salads.

 

Sunflowers - I have 7, the size of a good sized dinner plate. The problem is how to harvest. Right now they are clearly not ready, the seed is not full. It is a F1 but it is supposed to be a seed friendly F1 (little dorrit) and the current wisdom is to encase the heads in cheesecloth and let them drop naturally. A couple of the heads have mould so I am worried about this but I might as well try it as instructed this time. I am just sad if it doesn't work, I could have had an epic Van Gogh bouquet.

 

We planted 6 runner beans this year and need at most 3 - I think we have gotten one meal out of them fresh and everything else has gone in the freezer. Less next year and probably I need to research recipes. I also need to pick them again, arggh.

 

Courgette are the same - next year plant fewer plants but probably in neat manure / compost. Check more frequently and don't be shy to harvest small ones, the 2 foot marrow that got away (and is the basis for at least 10 meal portions) will appear regardless.

 

Cornichon are just too random to be useful. I've just pickled a 6 inch long example with 10 2cm long examples. I think, for the times that I really want a Viron style baguette with pate de Campagne, cornichons, leaves and salad (it used to be a Saturday morning pick from an amazing baker in Tokyo, with their Coppa - I can still taste it) I should just find a supplier for decent cornichons.

 

Drying beans got used just off dry in a slow cooked lamb dish that was essentially 8 hour locavore organic hogget (excluding the abattoir trip, it's from 400 yards away). It was tasty enough but not mindblowing. I'd rather give the room to something else.

 

I need to feed the fruit cage - the imported soil is stone free but a bit too sharp. Top dressing with manure and probably some pellet plugs.

 

£5 fruit trees were never going to crop this year. Cox apple is looking happiest, morello cherry the least happy, pears and plums in between. It was £30. We can see.

 

Need to pick 2 figs off the tree in the Mediterranean garden.

 

Oka is doing well, lovage has perked up and I think will establish. Rhubarb crowns are wildly happy at being out of the pot. 

 

To do: expand the strawberry crop and buy a mini cage as runners are going everywhere! Spares will go in the steep bank besides the stream because why not :)

 

 

 

I, for one, would love to see pictures! I've envied your garden all summer.

 

On 9/26/2016 at 4:36 PM, djyee100 said:

GardenFall2016_3819.jpg

 

My herb garden on the front deck at the beginning of fall. We've had some unseasonably warm weather in the past week, so this garden is good to go for awhile.

 

On the left side of the pic, purple-flowering Thai Siam Queen basil and alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca 'Mignonette'). I grew this variety of alpine strawberry for the first time this year, and I was very pleased with it. It's a no-fuss plant with a steady supply of berries through the summer, and it's still bearing now. The berries are intensely flavored, like the essence of strawberry. Also visible in the pic, Marseilles basil, Spicy Globe basil, Genovese basil, French and English thyme, tarragon, marjoram, creeping winter savory, and Italian parsley. On the right side of the pic, spiky purple flowers from Herbalea Wild Magic basil. It has grown large and taken over its corner of the garden.

 

Of the basils I tried this year (my post 7/17/16), I'll definitely grow Spicy Globe basil again. It tastes fantastic in spaghetti sauce. Genovese basil is a perennial favorite; it will show up next year. Marseilles basil has a mild flavor that's fine for salads, but I don't use it for cooking. I probably won't grow Marseilles again. (But a friend who tried this basil really liked it.) Of the two purple basils I grew, Thai Siam Queen and Herbalea Wild Magic, I prefer the flavor of Siam Queen. Wild Magic tastes OK, though, and it is...wild. A prolific grower, no-fuss, with a tolerance for cooler weather. It's still going strong into the fall. A nursery person told me that I didn't have to clip the flowers off Wild Magic. This basil is sterile and doesn't grow seeds, so the flowers don't use up too much energy from the plant. The flowers have a strong fruity scent, very pleasant, and bees love them. I may grow Wild Magic next year as an ornamental.

I had a weird thing happen with herbs this year. When it got hot and dry, my herbs (basil, cilantro, tarragon, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, a few others that escape memory right now), they all up and died on me. ALL of them, including the rosemary (which I am MOURNING, as I am used to being able to harvest it all winter).

 

I am not certain if it was the uber-hot spell we had in July and early August, or if the lawn guy got enthusiastic with his weed treatment and it drifted into my herbs (which are pot-grown, and lined up along the sidewalk that no one uses, leading to the front door, which no one uses). I suspect the latter. But for future reference, in climes where midsummer daytime temps hover in the upper 90s for two months or more, should my herbs be in pots that have full sun exposure from about 11 a.m. until late-late afternoon (easily 6 p.m., maybe later)?

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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@kayb, maybe your herbs didn't get watered enough when you were recovering from your injury? In the kind of weather you describe, pots can dry out really quickly. I'm sorry about your rosemary. I can always walk a few minutes to the neighbor's place and get some from her HUGE shrub year round. I mean this thing is over four feet in diameter and nearly as tall. She's kind to give me carte blanche with it, but there's no way one household could use all it offers up. It is planted in the ground and has been very hardy here.


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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On ‎9‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 7:36 PM, kayb said:

I had a weird thing happen with herbs this year. When it got hot and dry, my herbs (basil, cilantro, tarragon, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, a few others that escape memory right now), they all up and died on me. ALL of them, including the rosemary...

 

Hmm...I'm just guessing. I know you're an experienced gardener, so you may already know all this.

 

Have you considered this: in very hot weather, pots dry out on the sides, inside the pot. Then when you water, the liquid all goes out down the sides and the plants never have a chance to absorb any water. You can tell this is happening by lifting the pot after you've watered. If the pot still feels light, then the water ran out down the sides. This happens to me a few times every summer. The solution is to stick the pots in a pan or bucket of water (I use a clean, shallow dishpan) and let the pots absorb water from the bottom by osmosis. Then remove them from the pan or bucket, and water them as normal. You will see air bubbles coming up the sides of the rim, and after you water, the pots will feel heavy. The plants are hydrated again.

 

Because of the terrible drought last year, everybody here has become a plant-watering expert to make the best use of water. My landscaping guy taught me a system of "give it a drink, then give it a soak." First I water the plant moderately, shut off the water and walk away for 5-10 mins, then I come back and give it a thorough watering. This technique allows for deep watering, and the plant should be able to withstand 2-3 days without watering, even in hot weather. But the real test is to stick your finger about 1/2" in the soil. The soil should feel dryish, but not bone-dry, when it's ready to be watered again. Plants do need to dry out a bit between waterings, because roots need air, not only water.

 

Sometimes gardeners do a little watering every day. This kind of watering is less effective because the plant may not be thoroughly watered, and roots stay shallow to the surface. At the same time, the roots may never dry out for that needed bit of air. That's when the roots are wet all the time, and the plant eventually collapses with root rot. The best kind of watering is deep watering, with a little drying-out period in between waterings, which will encourage plant roots to grow deeply in soil or in a pot.

 

I prefer clay pots to plastic pots because clay pots dry out evenly. I've noticed that plastic pots, especially large ones, can feel dry on the top yet still have plenty of water at the bottom for the roots. So I do view my plants in plastic pots with that in mind. If the plant feels dryish on top, but seems to be OK, I'll might delay watering a day or two to make sure the roots dry out a little before I water again. BTW, plastic pots are prone to drying out on the sides and letting all the water run out.

 

The size of the pot matters in keeping plants hydrated. If your watering is fine, but plants are still drying out, consider moving to a slightly bigger pot to hold more water in the soil. Not too big a pot. A small young plant, with an immature root system, may be overwhelmed by a big pot of wet soil and root rot can set in.

 

Your weather shouldn't be too hot for the herbs you list, except maybe cilantro or parsley, which can be tender. Basil, tarragon, chives, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena should love the long sunshine. Lavender, oregano, marjoram also, which I grow. I've known these herbs to thrive in hot temperatures, 90-100, for the summer months, but maybe not everyday. Your summer sounds more like conditions in Southern California or the Central Valley California, with which I'm unfamiliar. The Bay Area (outside SF) does have some very hot weather, but also cool spells from the blessed fog. My garden goes through high heat spells during the summer, full afternoon sun in the high 90s to 100 degree temps for 4-6 hrs, and the plants do fine as long as they're properly watered. I actually wish I could give them more sun. They would grow faster.

 

But--If the edges of your leaves turn brown and crispy even if you're watering properly, then it's time to move the plants to a place with more morning and less afternoon sun. The root system isn't able to hydrate the plant properly, maybe because the plant is still young, or the pot is too small. But do allow at least 4 hours of strong sun, minimum.

 

Don't give up! Try again next year.

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Returned yesterday from a five day fishing trip of which four were spent in pouring rain and to put icing on the cake not a single fish caught. Still have lots in the freezer from the last outing.

 

Chinook.JPG

 

The garden is thriving:

 

Cocozelle.JPG

 

Fall plantings of kohlrabi, lettuce, daikon and watermelon radish.

 

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More lettuces, cilantro and dill.

 

Herbs and Romaine.JPG

 

And finally this morning's pickage.

 

Morning Harvest.JPG

 

Cocozelle zucchini, beet greens, jalapenos, dill, parsley, garlic chives, tomatoes, watermelon radishes, daikon, mouse melons, beets and in the center hot peppers (aji limo, habaneros, cherry bombs, hot portugals and a lone red jalapeno).

Those are the end of my beets and I have to admit I'm not a big fan of beetroot and grow them for their greens.

Over the next few days I'm going to start doing some serious preserving.

 

 


Edited by Wayne (log)
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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Autumn is coming on but still some pickage. 

 

Herb beds look very happy. Still some courgettes coming - I picked some babies for dinner on Friday (cod with Serrano ham chippings, white wine, butter and various herbs, served with steamed sugar snaps (not from the garden), slow fried baby courgettes, and a baked potato) and paleo lasagne is again in the oven using up my last two whoppers.

IMG_7250 (480x640).jpg

Today I picked yet more cornichons (I think I have figured out they like to start early, height and regular pickings) - I need to figure out how to pick small ones and store them until the pickle jar is full. Is it as simple as making a jar of pickling liquid and decant the liquid out as the jar fills up then repeat? What say you eGullet?

 

The rest of the haul today was a LOT of parsley and some green coriander seeds. I think I need a recipe for mass parsley as this bag for the freezer barely made a dent. Pesto like thing I guess?

 

IMG_7251 (640x480).jpgIMG_7252 (640x480).jpg

 

I also picked the second flush of asters - on the right in the previous photo. Here they are in a vase / drinking glass, with a stray scabious and the last of the zinnia...

IMG_7253 (480x640).jpg

 

 


Edited by Tere (log)
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3 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

 

 

http://awaytogarden.com/how-to-freeze-parsley-chives-and-other-herbs/@Tere  This post on Margaret Roach's site has the interesting frozen parsley logs   

 

Ooh - shows promise!

 

I really need to up my freezer game, currently it's full of bags of mystery and I need to get more organised. 

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13 hours ago, heidih said:

 

 

 

http://awaytogarden.com/how-to-freeze-parsley-chives-and-other-herbs/@Tere  This post on Margaret Roach's site has the interesting frozen parsley logs   

 

I use this technique for basil, tarragon, dill, parsley, cilantro and chives. I remember seeing it demonstrated on a PBS cooking program (which one I don't recall) in which basil was first briefly blanched, shocked, water squeezed out, the basil formed into a log with cling film then frozen. When needed a portion can be sliced off (much like a log of herb butter).

 

 

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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On ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2016 at 0:11 PM, Tere said:

I think I need a recipe for mass parsley as this bag for the freezer barely made a dent. Pesto like thing I guess?

 

I used to have a sorrel plant that just wouldn't quit. I blanched the extra leaves, dried them, then chopped them with oil in a food processor and froze the mixture for later use.

 

I recently finished reading The Culinary Herbal by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker (2016, Timber Press). To preserve herbs, the authors suggest syrups, vinegars, herbal pastes and butters. They don't blanche the herbs for the pastes, and they freeze the pastes and butters.

 

To make herbal paste: Clean, de-stem, and completely dry approx 4 cups of herb leaves. Have 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup olive oil ready for use. Coarsely chop herbs in food processor or blender by pulsing with 2 TB olive oil. Continue pulsing, adding just enough oil to coat herbs and make a thick paste. The herbs should not be floating in oil. Pack in small plastic containers or ziploc bags. Freeze. The pastes should be good until the next harvest.
Note: For pastes that might be used in desserts or baked goods, like mint, lemon balm, or lemon verbena, use a bland vegetable oil or nut oil instead of olive oil. The authors like sunflower seed oil. They use sweet herbal pastes in making scones, muffins, pound cakes, cookies.

 

To make herb butter: Using a spatula, combine 8 oz (1 stick) unsalted softened butter with 2 to 6 TB minced fresh herbs. To keep the butter from freezing so hard, add 1 TB oil. Form logs with wax paper or plastic wrap, and freeze. Good for 6 months. You can slice off pieces without unwrapping the log; simply pull the spirals of paper or plastic wrap off the slices.

 

I'm thinking of making rose syrup from my heirloom roses next year.

 


Edited by djyee100 (log)
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If I may I'd like to expand this a little further into how to deal with a large quantity of greens, such as chard, kale and collards after the first killing frost of the season.

Generally I trim, blanch, shock, squeeze then package in an appropriate size for a pot of soup, a lasagna, a filling or some other application.

This will be my first year dealing with collards and I plan to trim out the stems, blanch the leaves, dry them and package them flat.

This summer I experimented with using the above treated leaves in the manner of Hawaiian Laulau which worked quite well and plan to use the frozen ones on a variation of cabbage rolls.

Any suggestions from anyone with experience using collards would be most welcome.

 

 

 

 

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Wayne, I can't help you with collards, except to say I really like to eat them. They are sturdy greens, with a strong flavor, and I expect that if you blanche them they will freeze well. I like to cook Kim Shook's recipe for collards that she gave on the Dinner thread. Here, Kim's post 6/22/2010:

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143505-dinner-2010/?page=26

 

Yesterday was pickage and clean-up day in the herb garden. Our warm weather is supposed to continue, even hit 90+ over the weekend, so I decided to trim back plants and clip basil flowers to encourage more growth.

 

HerbPickage_3827.jpg

 

My system is to dry herbs on a plate on the kitchen counter, using the half-dried herbs as I might need them in cooking. When the herbs are completely dry, I store them in plastic bags or containers. Yesterday's pickage was mostly French and English thyme, with some marjoram and winter savory, and a single lavender spike, the only one in the garden. Lavender is supposed to bloom in the spring. This plant didn't get the memo. :D

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2 hours ago, djyee100 said:

Wayne, I can't help you with collards, except to say I really like to eat them. They are sturdy greens, with a strong flavor, and I expect that if you blanche them they will freeze well. I like to cook Kim Shook's recipe for collards that she gave on the Dinner thread. Here, Kim's post 6/22/2010:

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143505-dinner-2010/?page=26

 

Yesterday was pickage and clean-up day in the herb garden. Our warm weather is supposed to continue, even hit 90+ over the weekend, so I decided to trim back plants and clip basil flowers to encourage more growth.

 

 

@djyee100

Thanks for the info and link and I do agree that although they may not be to everyone's taste I like them.

A side note: when I was visiting my brother and sister in law this summer, in central Ontario, a dinner guest (friend of my SIL) and originally from Kentucky was over and she, over a gardening discussion, pretty much gave me the same recipe that you've linked from Kim Shook. On the list of things to do.

 

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Folks Iwould like to submit two pictures. The first is lemon verbena/ lemon thyme? I need help to identify it. 

The next is oregano. 

Both smell lovely but it has become suddenly cold and these plants will die. So I have harvested them. Now I want to dry them and keep them for the year or use them as gifts. Can you please suggest how I can use an oven to dry them and how I can store them. Any recipe suggestions? 

Thanks 

Bhukhhad

IMG_6258.JPG

IMG_6259.JPG

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30 minutes ago, Bhukhhad said:

The first is lemon verbena/ lemon thyme?

The first one is a thyme of some sort.  Lemon verbena is very different looking.  

Edited to add:  here's a sprig of lemon verbena from my garden:  

IMG_3823.jpg

My plant is about 5 ft tall.


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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@Bhukhhad

The first does appear to be lemon thyme and the second oregano.

They are both hardy.

I have both and they've survived and thrived through 8 winters (regularly get -20 C. days and nights) and I had a lemon thyme in the north that thrived through many a -30 C. winter. My main problem with them was keeping them cut back.

If I needed the herbs during the winter I'd just dig them out of the snow.

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Wayne (log)
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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Ok will remember next year. I think I mistook Lemon Thyme for Lemon verbena when I planted it. So i will use it when I have dried and stored it. But next time I will plant the lemon verbena. 

Oregano has been great. I dont like the taste of basil (go figure) -and I love the taste of cilantro (yes I do). So growing fresh oregano has given all my italian dishes a boost this summer. I do love it with yard long beans

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2 hours ago, Bhukhhad said:

 

Oregano has been great. I dont like the taste of basil (go figure) -and I love the taste of cilantro (yes I do). So growing fresh oregano has given all my italian dishes a boost this summer. I do love it with yard long beans

If you are growing oregano in the ground (rather than in containers) be careful - it is wickedly invasive. I planted some 25 years ago and now it is everywhere. This year it even invaded my vegetable garden which is a LONG way from the herb garden. When my husband mows the lawn or uses the weed eater around the edges it smells like a pizzeria. :blink:

Some varieties of thyme can also be invasive. Both are hardy here and our winters can go down to -15F or lower.


Edited by ElainaA (log)
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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I'm pleased to witness this discussion because I bought marjoram, lemon balm, curry plant and oregano this year for the herb hedge in the assumption they would fail and clearly they shouldn't.

 

My next door neighbour gifted me with about 3 kilo / 6 lb of home picked damsons in the week and our cooking apple tree is heaving. So I will be making a LARGE quantity of this at the weekend http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/british/spiced-damson-chutney?utm_source=rd&utm_medium=d&utm_campaign=otn&utm_content=recipes/type-of-dish/chutney/spiced-damson-chutney.html . I have made this before, it's heartily recommended - great base. Up the spices a little if you are unsure once you taste - it does improve with keeping and keeps well but it's an old recipe from one of her original books and less spicy than she would do now I would think. Very delicious though. I was about to go out to forage for damsons in my hedges so he turned up at the perfect time.

 

 Given I also need to pickle the last of my cornichons, pickle all our swiss chard stems, and process the rest of the chard leaves / spinach beet, I see a good day of work ahead on Sunday. Green tomatoes next week probably.

 

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It's supposed to get cold tomorrow night, so I spent a good half hour bringing in tomatoes from the balcony and dealing with the plants.  The artichokes are beautiful but no sign of any flower stalks.

 

Best year ever for tomatoes that I remember.  My kitchen counter resembles the Nibelungen hoard.

 

And every time I think the okra have finally given up for good...they surprise me.

 

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The season is coming to a close. Cold enough overnight Monday and Tuesday to kill my basil plants. Still lots of tomatoes and peppers (started pinching off new growth two weeks ago so the plants can put their energy into existing fruit) and zucchini.

A late planting of bush beans is showing lots of flowers so if the frost holds off I may get a final harvest of beans.

Still have lots of kale, collards, chard, winter radishes, bok choy, lettuces, and herbs which thrive in this weather.

 

 

 

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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