I will eventually give you the story behind the Little Garden on the Prairie and how it began. What I have on my mind at the moment is the time of year; I have such a love/hate relationship with Fall.
I love Fall Because this is the time of year that all the hard work from Spring and Summer truly come to fruition with all kinds of vegetables and even some fruits… Today my zucchini finally crossed the line from flowering to producing more than we will be able to eat in a week! My acorn squash finally has a proper squash growing, promising that I will actually have something to eat from it (follow my blog for the interesting story behind this unique plant and why I am so excited). My spaghetti squash are finally ripening to the point I can harvest them and start prepping them for winter storage.
The other reason I love Fall is the colors. I live in Saskatchewan (Central Canada, for those who are not familiar with our provinces) and the wheat fields this time of year are not only golden, but also blow in the wind like a sea billowing in the breeze. The few leaves scattering my green lawn are a sharp contrast of bright yellow. The geese are honking overhead as they start their migration. The days are still hot, yet the nights have their crisp, brisk bite. The crickets are chirping outside – a mellow, relaxing sound.
I will not focus on the fact that Fall means that Winter is coming… Winter is dark and long – and COLD! We often have -40 C weather here – with strong winds to boot (yes, there was a Canadian accent in that “boot”)!
Therefore I will write of the experience I had even just today that make me love Fall.
Today when I got home from work, I went out to water the greenhouse and garden as usual, no big deal. This time of year I plan my meals around which vegetables are ripe to make sure that as little as possible will go to waste and we have the freshest meals available. I found that the zucchini – just two days before still blooming – were so large that at least 5 families could have eaten their veggies and then some tonight!
I have been harvesting green beans for weeks, and yet there always seem to be enough for a full meal for 2 each night since they started producing…. The spaghetti squash are ripening fast enough (funny story on where the seeds came from, also a blog to come) that we could try every recipe on Pinterest involving spaghetti squash at least a couple times. My pumpkins are growing faster than a 2-year-old in their growth spurt and will look amazingly orange in a matter of weeks!
My little greenhouse boasts a lovely 8’x16′ enclosed area with raised boxes (as I mentioned, the origin story will follow – it will be interesting, trust me! It involves a huge flood), as well as a garden of raised beds outdoors and pots. You heard me right – POTS! As in plastic, big and black, filled with soil, and growing veggies!
I’ll tell you, it is so hard for me not to get side-tracked and tell you EVERYTHING about my greenhouse all in one blog and forget that I’m just talking about Fall.
The Rewards of Fall – All the hard work we put into Spring planting, Summer watering – and finally Fall harvesting! Everyone knows someone who gives away zucchini like candy because they have too much and hate to see anything go to waste. I, of course, am one of those people. I also get a huge amount of satisfaction out of watching that tiny flower turn into a squash, whether spaghetti, acorn, butternut, or anything else, and start growing – slowly at first, then exponentially! Each day when I check my greenhouse I am looking for how many things are growing and how much they have grown each day. Pumpkins turning color and becoming ready to harvest look so… well, “fall” to me!
The First Frost threatening to come on forces me to bring anything almost ripe into the house to finish ripening – then out come the towels, tarps, and anything else I can find to preserve the rest of the garden as long as I possibly am able… Some things survive and others don’t, however I still have bucket after bucket of fresh tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and anything frost kills easily sitting in the house. Most of which make amazing chilli or spaghetti sauce, so that is typically what I use them for…
… To be Continued…
If you like recipes for fresh veggies you have grown, I will be starting with zucchini and going from there!
If you have a greenhouse or garden or are thinking of starting your own don’t forget to follow me for the upcoming blogs on everything from building a greenhouse and raised beds, composting, vegetables that grow well in our climate (and best practices on growing them), and more! – Ellie