Time to put the garden to bed for the winter. We have had our first hard freeze this week on a particularly clear Autumn night - with the aurora borealis dancing on the horizon. Cleaning up the garden is always a chore that I put off as long as possible. I usually end up rushing around during the first snowfall stacking tomato cages and putting tools away for the winter. I picked the last of the tomatoes both ripe and green. It looks like I may make another batch of green tomato chutney. The red ones are very ripe and probably won't keep so they may go into a batch of chili.
The hoop tunnels were uncovered and the beds have been cleaned up for winter. All plant material moved to the compost pile. Drip lines are put away and garden hose stored in the garage.
I did transplant one stubborn lettuce plant to a pot and moved it indoors along with my herb planter. They are now sitting near a sunny window and I may just get some more lettuce.
I plan to try growing an indoor salad garden this winter under grow lights - using a modified bottom watering grow bucket system. That will be my next gardening experiment.
Another season of learning what it takes to garden up north is under my belt. The need for a moose fence was made clear once again and that is an expense I will have to budget for soon. I still haven't quite settled on how large I want my garden to be and that will determine what needs to be fenced. I am considering a larger unheated greenhouse of some sort that would cover part of the garden area. Heat loving plants don't seem to do as well in my micro-climate despite my raised beds and hoop tunnels. I have a downward sloping yard and cold air seems to collect. My yard is the last place in this area to melt off each spring.
My improved Alaska Grow Bucket design was a success. I still need to study up on plant care under greenhouse conditions as I still suffer with fungus from high humidity levels and poor air circulation. More ventilation is needed and adequate plant spacing is essential. Overcrowding seems to be my greatest problem. Proper nutrient is also necessary to encourage fruit production over excess foliage growth. I believe the high nitrogen fertilizer that I used this season was not the best choice.
Earlier this week I mixed up a Tabbouleh Salad with some of the last of the garden tomatoes and lettuce. I tried adding some sprouted legumes called Bean Trio to my regular tabbouleh bulgar mix and it turned out pretty good.
2 Cups cooled Bean Trio cooked and drained according to package instructions.
2 Cups Tabbouleh mix + 2 1/2 Cups water
1 can cooked Garbanzo beans
1 can ripe olives
1 large cucumber chopped
3 - 4 Cups chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Scallions (I used chopped whole onion this time)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
Save the drained cooking liquid from the Bean Trio and combine with water to make 2/12 Cups. Combine liquid with 2 cups Tabbouleh mix and let stand 20 mins. or until liquid is absorbed. Add cooled Bean Trio and all additional ingredients. Mix well and adjust lemon juice to taste. I found it needed more. Serve on a bed of fresh salad greens and enjoy!