Summer’s end

I went out to pick the flotsam of my vegetable garden yesterday, before winter blew in hard, and it was rather like rooting about under a Christmas tree. A shopping bag of broccoli and cabbages I found, all the tastier for having frosts turn their starches into sugar. And parsnips by the armload — planted from seed a full year ago, and nourished through summer, now fat as a forearm but sweeter.

This first cousin of the carrot was grown by our grandparents, then forgotten. But what flavor! No butter, no pepper, maybe even no salt does it need. Eat it as candy: rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

And celery in the garden still! A bit limp after the frosts, mind you, but who wouldn’t be? And this is not a cool-weather crop. Into the bag, and into soup it goes.

I planted some perennial herbs that didn’t sell at the farmers’ market (chives, oregano, sage, and lavender), and my best friend, Susan, helped me plant a few dozen spring bulbs. We pulled away autumn’s leaves, and there was rich, black, damp soil for the bulbs’ long winter.

Our own is at hand, and the ground may freeze tonight. So into one of my quart jars of canned tomatoes I may go, and into the freezer for broccoli, into the cold room for squash. And the cycle continues as it has since the dawn of agriculture.

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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