Saturday, October 21, 2017

Winter Garden Done!!! :)


WHAT A RELIEF...I will admit to my Blogging friends that my winter garden was making me sad lately. With the added responsibility and expense of our new doggie guests, my budget got cut in half. Alex and I went out the other day to buy some plexi-glass for my cold frames. We had to buy the cheapest stuff we could find sigh...very thin...I do hope it can handle the winter and snow fall...but I'm nothing if I'm not always trying to see the bright side, so I did my best with what I had and came up with some very basic cold frames. This is lettuce land which is already blossoming with winter lettuces!


Root Veggie Land is also starting to push through. For each "cold frame", I planted in containers. Then I measured what plexi-glass we had to make the covers. Finally, I covered the lattice-fences that were already there with a double layer of poly-tarp to help shield the containers from the cold. I'm really hoping this will work out. 


With the scrap pieces, I was JUST able to cover carrot and beet-ville. I had much more ideal plans for my cold frames, but when life takes a turn, you have to turn with it right? :) At least I managed to make do with a lot less!


My garlic patch is all planted and under poly-tarp. When it starts to snow, I wonder, should I take the tarp off? I know they have to "winter" but do they need more protection? I spent a good 6 hours in the garden today, it was fun, but I'm sore. I feel a sort of relief that the garden is done. I just have to concentrate on watering and making sure the plants don't sizzle under the plexi-glass now. When winter comes, I'll be very happy to go out daily to shovel snow and check on my garden!


A few weeks back I made some pickled cherry tomatoes with the last of the harvest. I didn't want them to go to waste. Well, we tasted them last night and ooooh! Can your cheeks get any more hollow??? This was an experiment recipe and boy oh boy, the recipe maker LOVED vinegar lol...it was really over the top...


...so I strained it about six times and now we have a flavoured vinegar. Alex said it tasted like the bruschetta I make so I officially now have some Bruschetta Vinegar! :)


Leigh from 5 Acres and a Dream posted about her cheese making yesterday.  She posted a photo of her grilled cheese and being the suggestible type...I HAD to make some kind of grilled cheese for dinner last night! The photo doesn't give it justice, but this was awesome! I kind of made it up as I went...I breaded some chicken breast and we made a chicken-parmesan-grilled cheese. With the breaded chicken, we added bacon, Mozza (homemade!) and a very generous sprinkling of Parm. Whoa...and I made some Marinara Sauce for dipping too. It was amazing! :)


My Marinara recipe makes enough to fill almost 4 Mason jars, so I decided to can the rest. I only have a water bath canner at the moment and I had a little guilt about filling it with water for just two jars! But our freezer is full, so I figured why not? Do you can just a few jars when you have some leftovers? Do you think it's worth it? 

Next week is an early monthly shopping day, so if I find more tomatoes on sale, I may just buy another 60 pounds for sauces!! (obsessed??? yes.)  :) Tomorrow I would usually post my Year of Projects update, but sadly I have done zero knitting. But...I have faith! :) I have every other little daily routine back in place, including my daily exercise and yoga...I've done some painting..now I need to make knitting more of a priority! Like I said above, when life throws you a curve ball, you just have to duck or try to hit it!!!! I'm aiming for a home run lol! :)

46 comments:

Mama Pea said...

Hooray for getting your winter garden in and going. As I've said before, I'm going to be eagerly following this great adventure of yours.

I planted one of my two beds of garlic today. I plant mine in a raised bed, but I'm wondering if you should follow, moreless, the same plan as I do in your pots. Yes, garlic does want to be dormant over winter even though it's just been planted. After planting, cover the pots with a heavy layer of mulch. My layer of mulch over the whole bed is about 6" deep. You really don't want the garlic cloves to start to grow until spring time so they need the "blanket" of mulch to keep them toasty (but not sprouting) over winter. I would get that layer of mulch on the pots but don't cover the whole set up with your tarp. I think it would get too warm and start sprouting . . . which you don't want until spring. Having the garlic in the pots (not surrounded by the protecting earth)is going to make them more susceptible to the cold during winter so I'd leave the sides with plastic wrap surrounding your pots . . . but no covering on top. Let the snow fall on the mulch on top of the pots and build up around the pots. Let it pile up as it will form more insulation for the garlic. Does this make sense to you at all?

No fair calling your grilled cheese sandwiches plain ol' grilled cheese. Your addition of the chicken made them a gourmet offering! Yum.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I can't remember if you have any chicken wire from your fencing but if you do, that could go under the plexiglass to give it more strength when the snow and ice gets on it. Anything like that will help.

Christine said...

First I'm hearing of a winter garden, looks good!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Your winter garden looks great. I really like your positive attitude. Consider this a stepping stone in learning about winter gardening. As you go along, you can build on that. See? I have a positive attitude, too :) Well, most of the time!

I just saved your marinara sauce recipe. I love the ingredients in it. So simple! And it's about time I made some sauce. I used to make huge homemade batches regularly that I'd use in many different dishes over time.

Nicole Thomas said...

I can leftovers or whatever comes my way that wants to be canned. Its so easy ... i think it is totally worth it . Even just one jar.
Hmmmm .... grilled cheese :)

Jenn said...

Good luck with the winter garden!
Also grilled cheese is always a good idea! lol

Mama Pea said...

One thing I forgot to mention about the garlic, water it once a week (right on top of the mulch) IF it doesn't get any natural rainfall on it. But do this only until freeze-up, then just let the snow pile up on the mulch.

Kristina said...

For sauce, if I have just a bit left, I tend to freeze it. I typically will can if there are 4 jars or more, but it's up to where I have space to store it too. Yes, Leigh's cheese sandwich post was mouth-watering. I have already ordered the book she suggested (from the libary). Your sandwich looks great. Kudos to getting your garden ready for winter.

Rain said...

Thanks Mama Pea, I will take care of the garlic today! Mulch is on sale for a dollar for a big bag, so I'll spend a whopping $5 for 5 bags and have leftovers. Thanks for all of your advice. I would like to find a way to fence in the garlic containers and wrap the tarp around them too like I did the other areas. I'm hoping for some scrap wood in their "give away" pile at the lumber yard. I was thinking of using leaves as mulch, but noticed yesterday that the wasps are too interested in the fallen leaves and I don't want to encourage them to stick around here!

Rain said...

I do have chicken wire Gill, lots of it from when I was protecting my seedlings from the Blue Jays. Thanks for the tip, I'll secure some under each piece of plexi-glass today. :)

Rain said...

Thanks Christine :) I've been reading a book called The Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour, she's a Canadian author and has an amazing winter garden, I think she's in Nova Scotia. I figured I'd give it a try this winter, following her tips and see if I can be successful!

Rain said...

Thanks Martha :) Positivity is so crucial! Yeah, I agree, most of the time I'm positive, but sometimes I want to have a pity party lol...I do that quickly then move on. Oh, for the marinara, I blend it at the end, I leave a few chunks though. I'll update the recipe page! I hope you like it! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nik :) Yeah, I think it's worth it too, but I have a HUGE canner...maybe I'll invest in a smaller one down the line for quick canning jobs. My regular pots aren't tall enough to cover the jars.

Rain said...

Thanks Jenn :) Anything with cheese is a good idea lol! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Kristina :) Our freezer is packed...I need to stop grocery shopping and just make do...maybe that'll be my November challenge to just eat from the freezer and pantry. The sandwich was awesome...it was only missing fresh tomatoes!! :)

Sue O said...

Look for a tall but narrow pasta pot (got mine at Goodwill for $3) and since you won't have a rack for the bottom just take a dishcloth and fold it so there are several layers. All you want to do is keep the jars from touching the pot! Works like a charm.
Heading to check out that marinara recipe!
Sue O

Rain said...

Thank you Sue O! :) That's a great idea. Oh the marinara...I keep forgetting to update it, I will now, just to say I blend it at the end :)

Treey said...

Hi Rain, Just thought it right and proper to say goodbye to you after all this time. The editing program which I use to do my blog has finally packed in.

Pam Jackson said...

You amaze me with all the stuff that you do. Winter garden...I hardly make it outside in the summer so I know I would not have a winter garden! I love it...great job.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Good job on making do with what you had! I do hope your veggies come through the winter in fine shape. I don't have a cold frame here at this new house either but I have a protective cover on a frame so think I will get a winter row cover to throw over it for the colder nights. Just have to get it off in time not to fry my plants in the morning. What us gardeners don't do to grow a little of our food! Nancy

RO said...

I continue to marvel at your accomplishments and it gives me courage to challenge myself with other hobbies that ultimately save money. I love sour and spicy, so that spicy bruschetta/aka flavored vinegar, sounds like it's right up my alley. Can we ever go wrong in life with grilled cheese sandwiches? I think not! (lol) Hugs...RO

Ruth said...

I didn't have much luck with garlic in containers, BUT, it was also my first time ever growing garlic, so who knows what I did wrong!

When the christmas lights go on clearance this year snatch up as many of the older (non-LED) style christmas lights as you can. The bigger the better, but even the tiny ones put out a fair bit of heat. Wrapped around/draped over the pots and containers they'll give an extra boost of warmth that can make a difference!

Susan said...

Given the curve ball you were served, you two are doing an amazing job! I usually mulch my garlic bed for the winter, but my neighbor never does anything but plant them and leave them. I guess anything goes! I finally got my garlic planted and am slowly cleaning the garden. Slow, being the operative word. I don't know that I'd get any knitting done, if it weren't for the fact that I hardly sleep... :)

Yarrow said...

Oooh, Rain, your food is making me sooo hungry :D I love your recipes and the things you do with food.
I'm learning about permaculture at the moment and maybe you could put some kind of mulch around your pots to keep them warm. I've been using anything I can get my hands on. Thankfully the ponies provide plenty of manure, but I'm also collecting leaves and bracken to bulk it out.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

LOVE the names for all your gardens. I was giggling out loud!! :) Good luck this winter. With our winters I am lucky that I manage to survive....can anyone say -45 with the wind? :(

Mama Pea said...

Yes, I can, MrsDM, yes I can. ;o)

Harry Flashman said...

There's always more we need than we can afford, especially if you are doing as much as you are, Rain. I don't have any winter garden going on, I'm still struggling with learning how to do a normal, spring and summer planting, but I think a winter garden is a great idea. You have to eat year round, so you need to be able to produce food year round should the need arise.

You know Kymber and J are always building things they need to grow food out of bits and pieces. Maybe there is a scrap yard or something of that nature that lets you look around.Our county dump used to have a place where anything that was useable was set aside, and people could have whatever they wanted to from it. There was always a mass of useful tools, lumber, glass, metal, anything you wanted. Then the county subcontracted the dump out and now no one is allowed to take anything, it is all destroyed. They drive everything to a big industrial incinerator 150 miles away. :-(

I guess we all just juggle things as best we can.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I like the names Rain. It reminds me of Disneyland - although if it were my garden, we would also have "Guaranteed Not To Produce Land" and "An A For Trying Anyway-ville".

Leigh said...

Your grilled cheese looks even better than mine! LOL. No competition though, just encouraging fellowship amongst blogging buddies.

Your cold frames look pretty good to me! Good for you for getting them done in spite of potential challenges. We figure everything we do here is an experiment. That means every year we learn something and try to improve it, because there's always something to learn!

Rain said...

Hi Terry, I'm so sorry to hear that! I enjoyed meeting you through Blogger! I hope you can get some better editing...at least to make some comments too! If we don't speak, I'm wishing you all the good luck for that lawsuit! Thanks for letting me know. :)

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) Thank you :) I do hope this all works out! I'll be updating the blog on what's working and what's not...fingers crossed. It would be SO NICE to have fresh veggies and lettuce during the winter months when everything is so old and expensive at the market!

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) You are so right...all these lengths for a handful of carrots ha ha...well, for me this is a big experiment! If I have some success, then I'll make a much more solid plan in the future. My dream is to have a big greenhouse that can withstand the winter months! And thanks :) I just can't give up...I would have made do with what I could find, I'm just glad I was able to get all the "areas" covered!

Rain said...

Hi RO :) Lol...no, grilled cheese is always right on the money...I'm traditional usually, just Cheddar, and maybe some bacon, but I wanted to get all fancy with this one! :) I'm happy to hear that I can help motivate you for your hobbies! That makes me feel good! Saving money is so important...life is just way too expensive, and to live the life we want here, we need to really be careful!

Rain said...

Hi Ruth :) This is my first time growing garlic too, I do hope they grow in the spring. I'm doing everything I can to help them along! I like your idea of the Christmas lights! It'll make the garden look nice too! :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)Thank you! :) It was quite a curve ball...I mulched yesterday! And I used the extra bags to insulate the pots, I hope it all works out! I'm low on sleep these days too. We need to get rugs down or something, I'm such a light sleeper, I constantly here the click click click of the dogs walking around. The two new ones aren't fully comfy yet so they wander a lot during the night! I found the garden clean up to be less thrilling than the spring prep...my clean up went slow too, but I really didn't have that much to do this year.

Rain said...

Hi Yarrow :) Permaculture is interesting! I'll have to check out your blog, I just looked it up and I am interested too! I have mulched the garlic and I'm using the extra bags to insulate them! :) Thanks for the tip. :) I wish I could buy more bags, but that's the end of the budget so we'll see how all this goes. I was going to use leaves, but we have a little bit of a wasp problem here and they seem to love getting into the fallen leaves...I don't want to encourage them! I hate those things!!

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :) I'm glad you appreciated my garden names lol...I have a "Looney Tunes" mind sometimes too ha ha! I know...we get -40's too but I'm determined!!! Plus I think I got lucky...the gardens are on the South side of the house so they are protected from the wind plus they will get lots of sun - as long as there are sunny days! I hope it works out!!! I see Mama Pea can relate to our weather too lol! :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) Thanks, I am trying hard to grow food year round because last winter was pathetic. The veggies and fruits are tasteless and old and it's not even worth eating them. I remember once we had a craving for a chicken Cesar salad, so I broke down and bought a head of Romaine in January...it was TINY, outrageously expensive and we both got digesive problems after we ate our dinner. That's when I bought the "Year Round Gardener" book. We won't have tons of harvest with what I planted, but it's an experiment to see what will survive here. I just have to be dilligent and get out there daily to shovel snow and vent the gardens if the sun is out all day.

K&J are a good inspiration for me. We actually went "garbage hunting" so to speak a few weekends ago when the "large garbage item" day was happening...people toss out so many things. I was looking for windows and some kind of framing, but we didn't find anything decent. We do have a recycle center about half an hour away...I will stake that out in the spring I think! What is wrong with these counties??? If people can use things, why opt to burn them and destroy them? It doesn't make sense to me at all. But you're right, we juggle...do the best we can and for me anyway, as long as I try to see the bright side, I feel gratified for my efforts.

Rain said...

Hi TB :) Your comment made me laugh! Those names would have suited my summer garden lol!

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) Thank you! No competition...cheese for all. :) There is nothing like melted cheese on bread though...you're right. And you told me that last spring too about the summer garden! I did learn a lot about container gardening and this climate. I can put those lessons into place next spring. This winter though, I'm kind of excited to see what happens!! I planted a pot of lettuce indoors too. As long as the cats don't touch it, I'm hoping I can keep that going all winter so we can have fresh Buttercrunch lettuce with the winter greens!

Sam I Am...... said...

Wow! Love your winter garden...my only suggestion would be bales of straw around the sides of the garden...I don't think the tarp is going to insulate enough when the cold comes as your containers are above ground...but what do I know? My daughter plants garlic every year so I should ask her. I know she has raised beds but I'm not sure she even mulches them....I'll ask her and get back to you. She lives in Iowa so it gets pretty darn cold there!
Your grilled cheese ala parmesan chicken looks delish! I'm also hoping to grow lettuce inside this winter. I know last year I was able to grow a mesclun mix and arugula outdoors but the problem is I don't like them! LOL! Too bitter for my taste. I was just planning my menu so I think my brat cheddar soup will go nicely with a grilled cheese....I'm hungry now...again! You would love the brat cheddar soup...it is fabulous....just search for Penzey's Brat Cheddar soup on Google.....it's in the Top 5 of my soup recipes. Have a great week, good luck with the menu and shopping excursion and I will talk to you soon!

Rain said...

Hi Sam :) Thanks! I thought about bales of straw too, but I have no clue where to find them in this area, or who to ask about it! I have shopping day this week, so I'll try to get some information on where I can get some, I think it would be a great insulator!

I'm not a fan of the bitter lettuces either! The greens I've planted are mâche (corn salad or corn lettuce I think) which is said to have a nutty mild flavour; and miner's lettuce (claytonia) which I read tastes a bit like spinach. The mâche is especially hardy and will (supposedly) grow all winter. The buttercrunch is inside by the lemon tree right now, I sure hope it works!!

That soup looks great!!! Anything with cheese is good in my books lol!

baili said...

wow ,what a hard work dear rain!

i find your energetic attitude personality so inspiring :)

hope though stuff is cheap still will help you to protect from tough winters.
my mom used to grow lots and lots of garlic in her garden as when she harvested it she spent many days to adjust it in store room so cannot be spoiled and could stay useable until next harvest.she used to give away garlic to her neighbors too .

Grilled cheese sounds compelling:)

i think you will be needing many more jars to store your delicious sauce .

wishing you best of luck for each your dream in future my friend!

Rain said...

Thanks Baili :) It is hard work...very physical, but it's SO worth it! At least I can hope so lol...I guess it'll depend on the kind of winter we get. If it's the usual cold that's okay as long as there is sun! I can't wait until the spring to see if the garlic works too!

Stefanie said...

It was interesting to read about your winter garden preparation as the Bay Area doesn't get snow and I don't garden yet. I hope your plants thrive well.
Thank you for the thank you card love and yes, fire is such a scary animal. Many didn't have a lot of warning to evacuate. I don't know how much Jen took with her when they left their house.

Rain said...

Thanks Stefanie :) I do hope my winter garden works out too. I've started adding folded up cardboard boxes around the containers now, hopefully to give them more insulation!