Fall must be upon us since I’m back to making no-knead bread. I bake once or twice a week during the winter — seems goofy to spend four bucks on a loaf of bread when I can make it myself, but in the summer I can’t bear to heat up the house any more than I need to. So this new loaf of bread felt like the beginning of cooler weather and more cooking. My sourdough starter is getting it’s mojo back, and this loaf came out so pretty that even though I’ve posted a zillion no-knead bread pictures on this blog, I thought I’d pester you all with one more.
I’ve also been playing with hoop houses this year. The one on the left has peppers inside. Because we had such a weird summer, cold through the end of June, and no real heat until late July, but then this other odd stretch where we have yet to see a real frost, they’ve pretty much been under plastic all summer. In the hot part of the season I either opened the plastic or took it off altogether, but mostly, they’ve been covered. Which I don’t love the aesthetics of, but since I’ve finally got peppers beginning to turn red, I guess it was worth it.
The other hoop house, the one on the left, I’m thinking of as my “winter garden.” I got rereading Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long and decided to see how far I can extend the season this year. Usually by this time of year, I’m bored with the garden and ready for everything to just die already so I can get some writing done, but I don’t know — maybe it was that the dino kale was still so small, or that the scallions had just started looking great, or that the chard was finally tall and crisp and beautiful. I wasn’t ready to let it go. So I dug up one bed, and transplanted kale, chard, lots of scallions, some arugula, and the green Chinese cabbages. I also planted a row of komatsuna, which I fell in love with this spring, but I’m not sure we have enough daylight for it to sprout.
Then I got real with the hoop houses and put some brackets in to hold the hoops. Last spring, I just stuck them in the ground, which worked okay, but they got sort of hunched and sad looking. By bracketing them they get enough stability that I’m hoping they’ll survive some snow. Plus, they look nice now. Crisp. Upright. Official.
So now I’m looking forward to seeing if I can get some fresh greens for part of the winter. I put the plastic up last night on the winter garden because it was supposed to go down to 28, but I don’t think it did. I think they like the extra warmth though, and the humidity. When I pulled the plastic back this morning to take a photo, everything was looking pretty upright and perky. We’ll see.