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Archive for February, 2012

Dear Veggie Lovers,

I’ve been meaning to write a post about winter gardening for a while, but it looks as though I’ve waited nearly too long. Though the days are still chilly, most of the snow in Wenatchee is gone, and as any good gardener knows, snow is the key to successful winter gardening.

In fact, it’s better to have snow than simply freezing temps. Last winter, the Wenatchee area saw severe cold snaps in November 2010 and February 2011 that damaged fruit trees at higher elevations.

Kale, collards, cabbage, and other traditionally cold-hearty crops also died in the home garden. All that was left to eat was the spinach!

But this year, we got enough snow cover during the coldest part of the winter — knock on wood — that helped most of the cold crops breeze right on through. Right now, we have kale, carrots, beets, leeks, and yes, even spinach out there thanks to the season’s earlier snow cover. Here’s how it looked in the home garden back on January 22nd, 2012:

Digging leeks from under the snow, Jan. 2012.

A good find! Leeks for leek-and-potato soup.

Covering the leeks back up with snow.

Digging carrots from under the snow and mulch, January 2012.

A few nice carrots for a small bit of work and lots of pre-planning.

With careful preparation and mother nature’s cooperation, home gardeners can basically “store” their winter crops right out in the field, and dig them up when needed.

And boy are they yummy! Tonight, we had beetroot casserole for dinner – a very filling meal from a Russian cookbook called:

The Food and Cooking of Russia by U.K. author, Lesley Chamberlain

I highly recommend the dish if you happen to like beets. The intersection of beet flavors with sour cream and lemon is distinctly Russian, and makes one want to reach for the vodka bottle on a cold winter’s night.

Dancing not included. 🙂

But on a more serious note, more interest in winter gardening is good for local growers and veggie lovers too. All across the country (do a Google search and you’ll be amazed at what you find) winter’s farmers markets are gaining in popularity. Here’s a recent article on the All You Can Eat blog at the Seattle Times on the subject.

I say, if Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee can do it, then certainly Wenatchee and the surrounding areas can as well, can’t they?

Then everybody could enjoy some fresh beet root all winter long!

Happy eating.

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