In your box:
- Beans, “Dragon’s Tongue”
- Eggplant or ground cherries
- Sweet Onion
- Sweet pepper
- Summer Squash
All of our onion crop has now finished growing for the year, so over the weekend our boys helped to bring in all of the onions to dry out for storage. With a big blank space in the gardens now where the onions had been all year, it’s yet another sign that the growing season is rapidly drawing toward a close. Thankfully we still have half of our CSA season and a promising crop of fall veggies to look forward to!
As soon as a garden bed is done for the year, I start preparing it for the next season as soon as possible. I cover the bed with half an inch of compost, remove any straggling weeds to the burn pile, and plant the bed to a cover crop. Cover crops help to retain any remaining nutrients in the soil from my spring application of fertilizer, help stabilize the soil to limit erosion, and block out any weeds that might try to take over the empty bed before winter.
This year I’ve used buckwheat in some areas but I’m preliminary using white clover as a cover crop. Clovers have the added benefit of adding atmospheric nitrogen to the soil, which means I don’t need to add as much fertilizer next fall. A clover bed planted by Labor Day also has a chance to flower, which benefits our honeybees and any native bees looking for nectar to overwinter.
This week’s box
We are finally to the end of our green onions, so we are now transitioning to sweet bulb onions. Sweet onions have a nice, mild flavor but do not last as long in storage as our main crop of onions. These usually come with green tops still attached, but the drought during mid-summer seems to have left us with smaller bulbs whose tops died back early. Sweet onions keep on the counter for a week to ten days and up to a month in the fridge.
This week brings our first ground cherries of the season. We’ll eventually get ground cherries to everyone, but for now you’ll receive either an eggplant or a bin of ground cherries. These are in the same family as tomatoes and taste like a cross between cherry tomatoes and pineapple. To eat them, just remove the papery husk and enjoy. They are great raw but they can also be baked into a dessert or coffee cake. If you like the taste of them, I recommend growing them on your own. The plants bear heavily, so you might just need one plant to supply your family.
Moroccan Chickpea Casserole
From New Vegetarian Cooking, by Rose Elliot
- 2 onions, minced
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 eggplant, cut into chunks
- 1 pepper, hot or sweet
- saffron, if desired
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 c. canned chickpeas
- ½ c. basmati rice
- ½ c. large green olives
- 1 c. or more celery, chopped
- 1 thin-skinned lemon, sliced
- 2 ½ c. broth
- celery greens or cilantro, roughly chopped
1. Saute the onions in the oil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and coriander, garlic, eggplant, celery, pepper, saffron, and salt, and leave to cook for a couple of minutes while you drain the chickpeas into a sieve and rinse under cold running water (to remove excess salt)
2. Add the chickpeas to the skillet along with the rice, olives, and lemon slices, then pour the broth into the mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook gently for 20 minutes. Fork the chopped celery tops or cilantro through the mixture and serve.
Next week should bring summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, Dragon’s Tongue beans, parsley, kale, ground cherries, peppers, garlic and sweet onions.