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My Six Autumn Tips for the Edible Garden
Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"
It is time to think about putting your garden to bed, harvesting your crops and preparing for next year’s garden. Here are some of my fall tips for the edible garden.
- Be Safe—The Society of American Hand Therapists recently announced that wearing gardening gloves was at the top of their list for preventing gardening injuries. Womanswork has a pair to suit every hand, task and season. In this month’s Martha Stewart Living, she features the Womanswork Goatskin Glove as one of her “Finds” for fall cleanup in the garden.
- Don’t let Jack Frost catch you off guard—I bookmark a handy website that tells me when I can expect my first and last frost date, based on my zip code. Usually it happens sometime around late Sept. to early October in my Hudson Valley, NY garden. Once I hear the first frost is on its way I harvest the tender annuals and perennials that will go into shock or place them safely indoors. The Womanswork Herb and Vegetable Garden Wheels, priced at $8 each, tell you which plants are least or most tolerant of the cold.
- Recycle your leaves – Fall leaves are plentiful in my yard. My friend the famous horticulturist, Ruth Rogers Clausen, recommends a leaf shredder for harnessing this source of rich nutrients to add to your compost heap or place right on top of your garden beds in the Fall. Womanswork “Digger” Gardening gloves that feature a longer cuff with Velcro closure that keep soil and debris out of gloves are ideal for this chore. “Digger Gloves” sell for $19.
- Preserve your crops – Preserving fruits and vegetables for winter has been a valued homemaking skill for centuries and now with the renewed interest in edible gardening this skill is having a renaissance. Many cookbooks and Web sites offer detailed instructions on how to make sure your preserved foods are safe and delicious. Whip up some pesto from your basil crop or consider alternative pestos using arugula or other herbs. Check out this link for a recipe for arugula pesto: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/arugula-pesto-recipe/index.html. Mmmmmmm…..
Remember the hungry– September is the month when our nationwide network of food banks asks Americans to support ending hunger in our country. Womanswork supports our local ‘soup kitchen’ by making dinner for those in need of a hot meal. You can also help by donating a portion of your harvest to your local food pantry. For a list of food pantries near you, click here: http://www.ampleharvest.org/find-pantry.php (Food banks are regional and they supply local food pantries).
- Plant Your Garlic– Garlic is one of the most used herbs in our kitchen. We planted our first crop last fall and then harvested them in the late summer. When you plant your garlic be sure to mark where you planted it because the garlic won’t show any signs of growth in early spring. Womanswork has plant labels for just this purpose. Priced at just $5 and $8, depending on the size, they are an essential and inexpensive gardening aid and make a thoughtful gift for your gardener friends. For more details on growing and harvesting garlic, consult “The Vegetable Garden Wheel”.