Have you heard of a potager garden before? The term comes from the French word "potage", which basically means "soup pot". As such, a potager garden features ingredients to toss into soup or stew. Clever, isn't it?
If you've grown some varieties that you really love, be sure to save a bunch of their seeds, both to grow again next year, and to trade with your friends/family.
Some people get high tech and use a fish tank aerator for their compost tea, but I just use my stick to slosh everything around for about an hour until it's properly frothy.
DIY repellents such as these can be quite effective alternatives to their more toxic counterparts, and use essential oils to fend off mosquitoes, black flies, and more.
Insect allies such as ladybugs, braconid wasps, and lacewings can help control (and even eliminate) pests like aphids, mites, and caterpillars from your garden.
Why am I blathering about all of this? Quite frankly, to reassure those of you who are struggling with your growing endeavours that even seasoned gardening veterans get frustrated and need to shift direction now and then.
If you don't love pickles, don't bother reading this one. Seriously, it's all about beloved pickled vegetables, from gherkins and bread-and-butter pickle slices to spicy pickled beets, cauliflower, and sauerkraut.
It's said that necessity is the mother of invention, but it's also incentive to do some research about which vegetables can be re-grown on a countertop. It's really quite startling to see just how much can be grown from leftover scraps: all you need is water, and a sunny spot to place the plants, and within a week or two you'll have a fresh batch of edibles to enjoy.
There are a few basic truths about living in a rural area: dining options tend to be limited; serenity will be disturbed by camping aficionados on summer holiday; and you will have mice in the house at some point.
This time of year is quiet and sacred for me, and is usually a time of reflection by the fireside while snow falls softly over the forest nearby. Ancestors are honoured, and so the foods I make for this dinner honour them, in my own way.