autumn harvest

Digging sweet potatoes at the end of September.

We had a sweet potato scavenger hunt on my birthday this year (September 30), and I think we started a new tradition. They grew so well and generously, and it was so much fun to uncover piles of treasure in the sunshine. We started them from local Covingtons we got at the co-op in late January, like this: 

You can also start them in soil, but we were living in a studio at the time and it was easier to put them in a jar on the windowsill. I also like having them visible so I can talk to them and tell them how much I love them. Once the “slips” (the little stems growing out of the parent tater) are a few inches long, you just twist them off, let them root in water for a few days, then transplant to soil. I let the one on the left (Barry) go too long, but we were moving, and he was forgiving. 

The garden in December. The cover crop (mostly oats and also peas) has stayed remarkably green despite several light snows and hard freezes. I dug up parsnips a few days ago and said goodnight until March.

Bowl of scrubbed parsnips.

Parsnips post-scrubbing. I love them roasted with oil and salt, and lately I've been enjoying them sautéed with onions and Brussel sprouts. 

Sorting dry beans on the coffee table: Anasazi Cave Beans, Scarlet Runner Beans, Madeira Maroon Beans, Hopi Yellow Beans.

Our final bean harvest. My favorites are the Anasazi Cave Beans on the far left. They're very tender and flavorful, and they have the cutest cow print when dry. At center are the Scarlet Runner Beans, which had very pretty red blossoms before they formed pods. Far right are the Madeira Maroons, which were very prolific, and the ones in front are the Hopi Yellow Beans, all from Richo Cech at Strictly Medicinal Seeds. Richo shares so much great growing information on his site, and his books are as entertaining as they are educational. I highly recommend Growing Plant Medicine (Volume II is about to come out) as well as Making Plant Medicine

Thanks for reading :)

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