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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Sep 09

An Abundance

Posted on September 9, 2016 at 9:23 AM by Ann Vallee

by Charlene Burgi

 Swiss Chard in raised planter
Swiss chard in raised planter
September is a busy month in the garden. It is that time of year when the vegetables are producing faster than we can pick, while at the same time we're planning ahead for the next round. Winter crops, including garlic, need to be planted now. Spring bulbs are coming into the nurseries, and favorites will sell out fast. Cover crops should be seeded to enrich the soil for next year's garden. Whew!

Getting these chores completed will pay off with the promise of abundant produce and colorful flowers next year. The question is what to do with the excess now—and do we really want to do it all again next year!

A couple of my friends ran into this dilemma recently. The first friend was confronted with four apple trees laden with fruit ready for the picking. While she does a fabulous job baking, her culinary interests do not stretch into the world of canning. Luckily, my other friend and I are equipped to help her. But meanwhile this second friend, seeing the bargain of the century on a shopping trip, came home with over 100 pounds of potatoes. While we laughed about her abundant score, we knew she had a job before her as we pored over various potato soup recipes. While investigating recipes for potatoes, we also pulled together family-treasure recipes for apple pie, apple sauce, apple fritters, raw apple cake, ad nauseam to help preserve the apples.

Zucchini in a pot
 Zucchini in a pot
There is a lot of work to a garden, even after the harvest. It made me wonder how best to manage for all of us with busy schedules and, for many, downsized families. Are big gardens required? Toying with that thought this spring, I planted one zucchini plant in a large pot and Swiss chard in another raised planter. Fortunately, I also planted three hills of various squash plants, as I love all the ways they can be prepared. I'm thankful now that I did that, as the potted zucchini has offered one zucchini thus far. The Swiss chard, on the other hand, is thriving far more abundantly than the Swiss chard growing in the greenhouse. And surprisingly, the potted plants seemed to require less water than those vegetables growing in the ground.

Where are you right now regarding the garden? This is the time of the year to assess how you will proceed with next spring's garden. Are your thoughts drifting toward a simpler garden life, or would you like recipes for sliced, grated, canned, frozen, or dehydrated zucchini, potatoes, or apples? I have an abundance of all listed!

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