From Pumpkin to Pie

‘Tis the season for baking pumpkin pies! Especially if, like me, you lazily store your pumpkins in the house. At room temperature, they start molding and rotting after a couple of months, so now’s a great time to cook up the August/September harvest and either bake it straight into pies or freeze the purée for later…

Sowing Winter Cover Crops

With the weather turning cool and the fall harvest beginning to come in, you may think the time for sowing seeds is past. And for most seeds, you would be right. But there is one class of seeds you could usefully plant in the next week or so if you’re here in Zone 7, and that’s winter cover crops….

Three Fantastic Farm Memoirs

Now, in late August, the peak of the year’s garden work appears to be behind us. Last week I harvested pumpkins, and in the space vacated by the dying vines, I sowed a fall garden of lettuce, spinach, collards, turnips, carrots, and beets. For the next few weeks, the only time-consuming work should be the never-ending need to pick…

Caring for Potted Citrus Trees

For those of you who thought growing citrus trees was impossible in any place with cold winters, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! It’s quite easy to grow dwarf citrus trees in pots and move them inside to a sunny window for the winter. Homegrown lemons, limes, oranges, and even grapefruits will do a lot to liven…

Gardening by Hand

My favorite passage so far from Harlan Hubbard’s Payne Hollow: Life on the Fringe of Society: I have found no one who sympathizes with my insistence on gardening by hand, without the use of any machine. So many times have the advantages of a garden tractor or tiller been pointed out to me that I half…

Asparagus, Part 6: First Harvest

Recently, I harvested my first spears from the asparagus plants I started two years ago from seed. My gardening bible, Steve Solomon’s Gardening When It Counts, says you can harvest all spears at least 3/8 of an inch in diameter without harming the plant’s future production. That’s what I’ve been doing, and so far I’ve harvested…

Gardening without a Tiller

I’m starting a new garden this year. My husband and I have been living in this house since last spring, but we moved in just a few weeks too late to plant a garden last year. I grew the majority of my vegetables at my parents’, just putting in a few things at our house in the fall: garlic, turnips,…

The Only Reason You’ll Ever Need to Start Your Own Tomato Plants

Here in USDA Zone 7, this is the week for starting tomato plants indoors. They’ll have seven weeks to grow inside before the last expected frost, enough time to get big and robust but not so much time that they’ll outgrow their 3″ pots and the space allotted for them at my south-facing windows! Starting your…

Christmas Oranges

Our first Washington navel oranges have ripened just in time to make super-fresh stocking stuffers! Accompanying them will be jars of homemade caramels and orange hard candies. I’ll post the recipes for the candies soon, but if you need them now for a last-minute treat of your own, you can find them at Willow Creek Farm’s…

November Is Lemonade Season

How long does it take a lemon to ripen? Any guesses? We bought our citrus trees a year and a half ago from One Green World. Last year, after the petals of each purplish-white flower fell off, there was a tiny, dark-green fruit. But within a few weeks, these turned yellowish brown and fell off. None of the…