10-17-07 Of Harvest and Plantings

In This Issue:

    1. Of Harvest and Plantings
    2. A Bounty of Butternut
    3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month
    4. Gardenerd Product of the Month
    5. More Improvements to the Gardenerd Community


Halloween is still a couple weeks away, but the celebration of autumn has already begun.  Markets are featuring squash in an array of colors.  Pumpkins have made their way to the front of the store.  Dried corn, gourds and orange peppers are at the ready for decorating your table.  It’s at this time of year that I reach for my favorite fall book: Fall Notebook by Carolyne Roehm.

She has an entire series of notebooks for each season, but for some reason this one resonates with me more than the others.  It’s filled with ideas and eye candy for your garden, table and kitchen: Recipes, floral arrangements, festive ideas and beautiful pictures of ways to feature your squash, onions, bulbs and flowers.  However you choose to enjoy the fall season, make sure you take some time to look around and watch the changes in weather, the smells in the air and the colors on the trees.


Speaking of squash, I have a renegade butternut squash plant still going gangbusters in my garden.  I’ve harvested two so far, but 5 remain on the vine as they ripen in the sun.  In an effort to embrace the season, here is a simple recipe for using your abundance of butternut squash (or any other squash you may have):


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut a 2 pound squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds.
Place both halves, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with salt, and dab with a few tablespoons of butter (whatever you feel comfortable with)
Bake for 50 minutes, or until soft.


Now is the time to plant garlic for next summer’s harvest.  I just bought some Organic Kettle River Giant Garlic (a softneck variety) to try for the first time.  Garlic is available in hardneck and softneck varieties, each work well in different growing conditions.  Hardneck varieties are suitable for northern climates and have a 3 to 6 month storage life.  Softneck varieties are better for warmer climates where winters are mild.  They have a longer shelf life once harvested, about a year or more.

For best results plant garlic 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes in loamy or sandy soil that has been amended with organic matter.  Separate the bulb of garlic into cloves, but leave the papery covering on each clove.  Plant them 4 to 6 inches apart and, depending on your climate, 2 to 4 inches deep (the colder it gets the deeper you plant).  Compost regularly and water with fish or kelp emulsion every two weeks.

In late spring, when the foliage starts to turn brown, stop watering two weeks before harvest.  Every year I grow my year supply of garlic.  I usually plant about 20 cloves, but this year I planted 40.  Crossing my fingers that the gophers don’t find them appetizing like last year.  In the spring, we’ll talk more about harvest and braiding your garlic!


In honor of the approaching World Series (for those who pay attention to this kind of thing), this month’s featured product is the Gardenerd Baseball Jersey.  Get your team spirit going for fall and choose from black, red, or blue.  It has just the right sleeve length for fall days that don’t know whether to be sunny or cloudy.  You’ll look sporty while raking leaves in this Gardenerd Baseball Jersey.


You may have noticed that your Gardenerd Gazette looks a little different now.  In fact, it looks like the Gardenerd website.  That’s right, we’ve been working in the wee hours of the night to once again upgrade your experience in the Gardenerd community.  Not only is the newsletter archive now SEARCHABLE, but it has a more cohesive look like the website you’ve come to know and love.  It’s still a work in progress, but be sure to check out the new features at www.Gardenerd.com.

Stay tuned for more gardening tips and tidbits from the Gardenerd.  Happy Fall Gardening!