The New Home Economics

Still going…

6 Comments

The garden activity keeps slowly and quietly rolling on here in south Minneapolis.

Red Russian Kale re-sprouting

My “Red Russian” kale was looking tough after the first couple frosts, so I stripped all the leaves off and made a big pot of kale soup. I lazily left the stalks alone, and they re-sprouted these tiny little leaves! They’re getting a bit frost-damaged (we’ve had a handful of lows to just under 20 degrees F now), but I’m still tossing them in with other greens.

lacinato kale re-sprouting

The same thing happened with this lacinato kale that I had stripped sometime in early September. New growth is standing up to the cold much better than older leaves of the same type of kale:

As you can see, the larger, more mature kale leaves on the right are much sadder than the newer ones on the left. The seeds for these plants came from the same packet, but there’s been a bit of variation in leaf color and texture. The greener, curlier ones are putting up with the cold much better. That’s not to say the kale on the right has reached the unusable point yet: I think it will still be fine for a soup or a quiche. The sooner the better, though.

hoop house in Minnesota in November

Over in the hoop house, sad sights. The tiny bit of lettuce that is left is looking quite frost-damaged now, and the chard also looks less cheerful than it did a week or two ago. One thing I neglected to take into account when planting this in mid-August was that the growth rate of these plants slows down SO MUCH in the fall with the waning light. I should have planted more and crowded them in closer, because they just did not come close to achieving standard size. Chalk that up to experience; I’m still proud to have made my (likely) last lettuce harvest on 11/14.

dill seeds

I was disappointed with my dill this year — I used SO MUCH of it in 2011 that I didn’t leave quite enough seeded-out plants to get a good number of new ones for this year. So late this summer I plucked a bunch of seeded-out dill plants from one of my volunteer garden projects, put them in a bag, set them aside and forgot about them. I just found them today so I hurried to scatter those seeds around before the snow flies.

making leaf mold

My leaf mold project continues. You can see the layer separating our 2011 leaves and the newly-added 2012 leaves. If Elliot Coleman is right, I should have leaf mold for my 2013 garden. I’m very excited to try it out. It’s also amazing how many leaves you can pack into these simple little towers. We get A LOT of leaves, but this year we spread most of them on our new native plant gardens, and packed the rest in these towers. That’s ZERO bags of leaves from our yard!

bottle brush grass in autumn

I am glad to have a gardening off-season, short as it may be. It gives me time to pursue other interests like reading (while drinking tea with my homemade hipster jar holder), running with my old pal Blake (our 11YO german shepherd mix), and I’ve even picked up knitting needles again this past week.

leather canning jar holder

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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6 thoughts on “Still going…

  1. If you have some floating row cover around, you might throw it in over your plants in the hoop house. It adds a tiny bit more frost protection. Also, the last time I did a winter hoop house (in MT — we’re about the same latitude) things went into suspended animation, and looked frozen and dead for Dec-Feb, but the hoops meant I got greens in late Feb/early March — a good 6 weeks before I would have otherwise. Going outside this afternoon to see how thing fared in mine — we had 2 feet of snow and some really cold weather last week (but the snow seems to have insulated my parsley and baby bok choi outside the hoops). goodness — maybe I’ll even put up a blog post!

  2. What a lovely post :). Our season has just started here in Tasmania and we have managed to build and plant out our very first veggie garden on Serendipity Farm. It’s highly exciting for us and as a temperate climate I read about your exploits avidly. We don’t get frost here unless the rest of Tasmania is frozen so perhaps once a year at the most? We live on the river and on the side of a steep slope that faces the sun so I guess the frost doesn’t get a chance. We have some tiny little Cavello Nero growing and I will be interested to see if our open pollinated variety has the interesting variations that your seed had. Perhaps the seed company mixed their seed? I hope ours did :) Cheers, again, for this lovely post :)

    • Cheers to you, as well! I love that I can swap gardening tips with people in Tasmania as well as Montana. The internet is truly a wonderful thing.

  3. Where did you get/directions to make your hipster glass holder?! I love it!

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