Nothing could be simpler than growing ginger in Virginia.
It’s almost true.
Just dug baby ginger in the fall
Ginger is reasonably ornamental – a reed-like plant with clear green leaves. While it can be grown in the vegetable or herb garden, it is not out of place with ornamental plants – provided you can dig them out easily enough — without damaging bulbs or perennials. Don’t plant them with daffodils!
A small clump of ginger growing with other tropicals and annuals
So yes, it is tropical – but that not necessarily a reason not to grow it. We grow many other plants from the tropics and treat them like annuals. You can do the same with ginger.
I have grown it for years in my garden – small yield but it was mine! Ginger requires a long frost-free growing season — about one year for mature ginger, 8 months for baby ginger. That’s more than our climate allows… except that you can start ginger indoors. farmers do it in high tunnels (aka hoophouses). I start it my greenhouse, but a very sunny window or sun room will work. With a warm early start in late winter, appropriate temperatures at all times, abundant water, and judicious shade, you can grow ginger to a harvestable size. Read more
November 6 – first hard freeze, down to 26 this morning. Good thing I harvested all the baby ginger that was growing outside. I still have some in a tub taken to the greenhouse. Let’s see how long it keeps growing.
October 31. Let’s call it over. Hurricane Sandy passed through: let’s consider it done with the summer garden – wasn’t that much left any way, between the summer heat and drought, and our early October frost (Oct 12).
The storm uprooted our old apple tree. The wind flattened the Michaelmas daisies, the titonias and the flamboyant dahlias. It also blew over the peppers: they were still going strong – and I have been growing lots of peppers this year.
Some of the pepper plants in August
I picked another peck of green, wax and Merveille de Piedmonte beans on Sunday before the storm. Will harvest all remaining peppers in the next couple of days as it is too muddy now. It’s should be a another decent harvest since the last few weeks were Indian summer after all – if dry.
And so this year – a brief run down on failures and successes: Read more
| Tags: Harvest
Just dug and cleaned baby ginger
When I have green tomatoes and baby ginger, I make Green Tomato Jam With Baby Ginger. Because, I have pickled green tomatoes and made green tomato relish in the past… but we don’t eat that much of it. So the pickles and the relish languish on the shelves. Jam, we eat. Read more
Students who take my canning class tell me that one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to canning is … surprise!… time. (the other is the commendable desire not to sicken one’s family)
I will not prattle about how time used now is time saved later … and other opinions/musings/ramblings etc. I have expressed myself about food preserving in general and canning specifically before here.
I will not give an on-line canning lesson either – that’s much better done in this nifty, detailed and clearly written USDA guide. And here, also are the answer to a bunch of commonly asked canning questions from the same source.
All laid out for water-bath canning tomato sauce
But I am here to tell you that canning tomato sauce does not have to be a day-long process. Tasks can be broken down is steps that be performed over several days, with the last day being a couple of hours. Total time is somewhat longer than if done at once. But, for for me, 4 times 2 hours is more manageable than 7 hours at once. Read more
A quick dash to the garden yields fava beans, eggs, asparagus, new onions, currants. Add a handful of mushrooms and bread – and that’s dinner. Got to love this time of the year (even if the planting and harvesting all come together so fast)
A local Thanksgiving with roasted duck. Photo by Molly Peterson, mJm Photography, Sperryville, VA
This is the introduction to the current Seasonal Table, a column – with recipes - that I write for Flavor Magazine. The recipes are appropriate for any autumnal meal, and certainly, together, would make a local Thanksgiving feast in many parts of the US.
Harvest Festivals have all but vanished, at least in our society. Thanksgiving Day is sometimes derisively nicknamed “Turkey Day”. For too many people the event means wolfing down a huge plate of indifferent food prepared hurriedly and harriedly. And then go do something else, away from the table, and away from others.
Thanksgiving Day is not about turkeys. Not… really. Read more
Trifoliate orange (hardy citrus) grows like an evergreen weed around here. The harvest is ending… What should I make with them this year? (last year I made liqueur)
There is no question that we are well into berry season.
Strawberries are the first berries to ripen for us here in the Northern Virginia Piedmont. The most common ones that you are likely to grow or buy are the June bearers. They produce a big flush over a few weeks in late May or June, and then they are done until next year. Day neutral cultivars like ‘Tristar’ or Alpine strawberries produce a little bit all summer long. I pick about a quart of strawberries every week from my ‘Tristar’ patch and that works well for us.
I have just cleaned out my white and red currant bushes. They make the easiest jelly since they have so much pectin, and one of the tastiest and prettiest too, a gorgeous brilliant clear red… that is, if you don’t press the jelly bag while it’s dripping. This year, I exercised great restraint and did not squeeze the jelly bag! But I was not going to waste so much pulp, so I processed the left over berries through the food mill’s finest plate. The strained currant pulp was mixed with sugar and black cherries to make a currant/black cherry jam. Cherries are low in pectin so the jam can be a little tricky to set sometimes…. but not if you use currant as the base for the jam! And the tartness of the currant is very pleasant.
I don’t grow gooseberries but I am told by friends who do that they are ripening now. Well… I do have one small shrub, and last year I turned the few berries it produce into a charming little pink lemonade. But the shrub and I are not really well acquainted yet… I still have a lot to learn about gooseberries. They may be an acquired taste…
We are in the middle of blueberry season. And what a glorious season it is! As all other fruit so far they started a little earlier than usual too. We eat them raw, but since cultivated blueberries can taste a little flat, I like to mix them with other berries for berry salads. They also ake excellent ice-creams and sherbets – try it with a Reine De Saba (almond and chocolate cake).
Or layer it with angel food cake for a very pretty ice-cream sandwich cake that can be made way ahead of time. And just before serving, a fresh barely cooked blueberry sauce.
Of course, a few pots of jam – what’s not to like about blueberry jam? and the rest in the freezer.
I first encountered really fresh cherries when I was 15 – a defining age to meet a flat of just picked sun-gorged brilliant cherries, I can tell you. On the tropical island where I grew up, cherries do not fruit – they grow, but without a cold dormancy period, they do not fruit. Papayas, mangoes, longans, cherymoyas, pineapple, yes. But cherries are an exotic expensive luxury that travels a long way to get to Reunion Island – like litchis in Virginia. So I was 15, my family was living in Provence for year, and Provence has wonderful cherries. I was hooked. Read more