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Friday, October 21, 2016

October Gardening In Brief

Start These In Containers
Start These In The Ground
Move to the Ground from Containers
All cabbage family crops
Fava beans
Fava beans
Any cabbage family plant big enough to survive.
Potatoes (tubers)




Garbanzo beans

Garlic (bulbs)

Shallots (bulbs)

Here is the deal with winter sowing – you can continue to sow all winter crops through November. After November, we need to begin to look at the harvest dates. Before November is out, you will need to have all your onion family plants in the ground. These include garlic, leeks, onions and shallots. They take a long time. Celery and celeriac, another long season grower, should probably not be planted after November as well. Carrots and parsnips can be planted deep into December, but after that, look for smaller carrots that will be done before your world heats up.

You can cheat – this isn't mathematics where the answer is right or it's wrong. Often the answer in gardening is “it depends.” There are perimeters of hot and cold, sun and shade that we work with. There are no hard and fast rules about when to plant what – mostly just guidelines. You can lose – even when you don't cheat. I know, it is unfair, but it's part and parcel of growing food and you can see why many books from antiquity regularly address putting food in storage and consciously regard famine as an ever-present problem to be dealt with.

If you plant one thing on one date every year, in at least one of those in seven years will not work out for you. Not your fault. The weather is not the same every September 5th. Or any other day in the calendar. If you could predict the weather out for 6 months or so, you'd be very rich. But this has been the problem of food growers from the beginning. And climate change has made it even more forbidding. There are years when I'm watching baby tomato plants struggle in late May I wish I had planted beets instead – any we may well find that is the way we do things – start tomatoes AND plant beets at the same time.

Butternut Squash With Pecans And Blue Cheese
I've done this annually for many years and it's always been a hit! I know grilling in the fall seems like I missed the summer boat, but really, in Southern California, we can grill almost year round, avoiding windy days during dry season.

4-1/2 lbs butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 stalks fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pecans
1 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese

Get the grill going and warmed up.

Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into two to three inch cubes; you don't need to be precise, just keep the pieces uniformly. Smaller, they fall thru the grill.

Mix the squash in a bowl with the oil adding thyme. Cook on the grill until just tender enough to eat.

From the grill, throw them into a bowl with crumbled blue cheese and pecans and mix. The hot cheese will hold pecan pieces to the squash. Serve at once. You may eat the entire squash, skin and all.

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