Summer gardening season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh produce through the winter, too. It’s not too late to start planting your winter vegetable seeds (although, if you plan to garden this winter, you better jump on it quickly). Leafy greens, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower can all be planted now and harvested later this fall.
To protect your fall garden from frost, be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Although these fall veggies can survive a light (and oftentimes even a heavy) frost, you’ll want to protect your plants from the cold with polyethylene blankets, corrugated fiberglass covers or even used milk jugs with the bottoms removed. Here are a few tips for fall planting:
- Use the empty plots once you’ve harvested your end-of-summer produce to keep the soil fertile for spring planting — and to give you a spot to grow some fare for wintertime.
- It rains less in the late fall, so be sure to keep your provide constant soil moisture in order to increase seed germination.
- Don’t forget that beautiful Indian Summer weather usually follows the first frost, and can be the best weather of the fall season for growing vegetables.
- Seeds should be planted deeper in the fall, since moisture levels lie deeper in the earth than they do in the spring.
Now, the question remains: What do you do with your remaining summer produce? Now that my CSA is winding down, I’m seeing lots of corn and plenty of potatoes. If you’re like me, eating baked potatoes can get old pretty quickly. Luckily, being a part of a large Italian family makes me privy to my grandmother’s traditional Italian recipes, like gnocchi — and it’s not as hard to make as you might think.
2 pounds potatoes (any variety will work, but I prefer to use red potatoes)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Step 1: Poke holes all over the potatoes with a fork, and bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes.
Step 2: Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and use a potato masher (or if you’re like me and don’t own one, a fork will do) to mash them until all lumps are gone.
Step 3: Add the egg and salt to the potatoes and mix well.
Step 4: Add flour to the mixture a 1/2 cup at a time and knead into a soft dough with your hands.
Step 5: Separate the dough into 4 balls, roll each ball into a long tube, and cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.
Step 6: Boil the gnocchi until they float to the top of the pot, drain, and top with a marinara sauce, or quartered roma tomatoes.