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Something to remember when you think about next year’s garden

Aunt Toby wants you to expand your mind. Once, like many people, I was the sort of person who basically gave up on the garden when ‘The Big Freeze’ showed up and mowed down the tomatoes and other less-than-hardy stuff. Then I discovered that there are veggies, mostly from the cabbage family, which can hold quite nicely after everything else is gone. Even here at Chez Siberia, there are things that are still useful and edible out in the garden, so it’s worth growing them strictly from the aspect of having fresh green veggies when otherwise, you’d be having to buy them in the grocery store.

This year, I left two that I knew would work in the snow, kale and Brussels sprouts, and two experiments, chard and fennel. The experiments were a colossal failure: The fennel froze out completely and the chard rotted where the stems of the plant met the ground. Done.

But the kale and the sprouts are fine. The kale looks pretty ragged, I admit, but it’s still harvestable, cookable and edible. The sprouts look great; they were protected by the plants’ leaves, so they are looking fresh and green. Yum.

So, while you still have time to make out your seed order for 2011, consider trying out kale and sprouts for your garden this next spring. They are hardy (I put my seed into the ground late in March or early April under glass – you can use clean plastic over hoops too, if you have them; old windows over surplus timbers or cement blocks of you don’t) and actually very tasty. Something new to most families, for sure, but a definite way to extend the season for your garden.

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