With lows in the lower 20s several nights this week, I spent a fair amount of time chipping up leaves with the mower and spreading them between rows of cabbages, carrots, turnips, and beets (as well as most everything else remaining in our garden beds). Providing some protection against freezing temperatures, the mulched leaves will also improve soil consistency next spring.
our rows of rape greens grew exceptionally well this fall. Knowing a serious cold snap would pay us a visit this week, I harvested most of the rape, as well as kale and swiss chard, and cooked several batches of what we call "green soup." Green soup is a collection of any available greens cooked down with vegetable broth, onions, garlic, and a handful of rice, then pureed into a smooth blend. Add a splash of lemon juice, paprika, and salt for excellent taste.
So far, our "cover and festoon with Christmas lights" strategy has saved our pepper plants each night that temperatures dip below 35 degrees (with a low of 27 a couple of weeks ago).
Yesterday, however, I harvested most of the hot peppers (jalapeno, yellow, and some other mystery variety with plenty of heat) and created several batches of jalapeno (or hot pepper) jelly. One batch, viewed at left, sported added bits of hot red peppers.
I'm especially partial to the taste of lime, and so plenty of lime juice was included for a splash of citrus to accompany the heat.
I make no claims to being a champion jelly and jam maker as no batch ever turns out with perfect consistency. This time, however, the leftover jelly had great texture and flavor, especially when served on a saltine cracker.
Now if I can just save the plants until another crop develops ...
Without high expectations, I cut apart a couple of aging sweet potatoes this past June and planted them in an area of dirt and mulch between the house and a walkway. They quickly produced vigorous vines which spread throughout the plot of ground and up and over the walkway before creeping along behind the house.
Our recent frost killed these vines, and so I dug around in the ground for any developing sweet potatoes. I discovered a good many, mostly small (as in this photo) with the exception of a half dozen large (a few covered with scavenging bite marks - moles perhaps?).
We have now had several meals with "sweet potato fingerlings." Scrub the potatoes then toss them with olive oil and kosher salt. Bake in the oven until the outsides are crispy. Sort of like french fries.
This is our story, in real time and in photos. It is neither unique nor unusual nor extraordinary. But it is our story.