Taking Root #58

Taking Root

Sept. 27, 2017

Still Time to Plant and Chantrelles at the Market

By Gini Bramlett

For the Calapooia Food Alliance

Leaves are turning colors, temperatures are dropping steadily during the night and our gardens are showing sure signs of calling this gardening season a done deal.

I have mixed emotions when the season comes to it’s end. The much needed rest from the demands of a large garden is surely welcomed, but there’s always a bit of sadness to see the colder, sometimes dreary winter weather decend upon us.

This year has been an unusually difficult season with the excessive heat and rainless months followed by countless fires raging across the Northwest, many of which are continuing to burn. Three plus months with no rain was hard on the crops and the wildlife, and the fires just exacerbated an already difficult gardening season.

In our garden, in spite of staying constantly vigilant to deter the relentless damage by the hungry deer, we failed miserably, and now have simply resigned ourselves to our garden having become a deer smorgasbord. We’d even gone so far as to buy a deer block to distract them from eating the beans, beets, carrots and, yes, even tomatoes and my beautiful hollyhocks. The poor things were obviously desperate to eat things they’ve never considered before.

In spite of the deer damage, rain has finally given us some salvation. I am hopeful there will be more coming soon to encourage new growth in the forests for the deer to munch on, discouraging them from using our gardens as their main food source.

But, in spite of the less-than-ample harvest this year, some of us are simply not ready to leave empty spaces in the garden and give up for the season quite yet. Moderate fall temperatures in our area allow us to continue planting some things into October, if desired. If you hurry, chard, lettuce, bulb onions and spinach can still be planted this month. Garlic, peas and bulb onions are also good for October planting.

Winter gardening can extend your season of fresh wholesome produce thru the winter if you take a little extra precaution. When freezing temperatures threaten, a quick cover of plastic or even a light tablecloth can protect young or tender plants from frost damage. But a word of caution: if you cover plants with plastic at night, be sure to remove it during the day when temperatures rise. It doesn’t take much to cook young plants under plastic if the sun shines on a relatively warm fall or winter day.

Brownsville Thursday Marketplace: The market season is nearing it’s end and will officially hold it’s last market on October 12. Market vendors still have fresh produce available for sale: sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, green beans culinary herbs, and Marjie has freshly harvested chantrelle mushrooms picked fresh each Thursday morning at the coast.

Vendors also have baked goods, such as angel food cake, sweet breads and rolls, cookies and cakes. Honey, jams, syrups, fresh salsa and handmade pastas and whole or slices of locally-made angel food cake are also available weekly. Among the nonfood items offered are locally-made scented and unscented soaps and bath truffles.

Market are held from 3-6 p.m. at the corner of Main and Park streets.

For more information about the Calapooia Food Alliance’s “NO FEE” vendor guidelines, email Gini at rongini98@gmail.com or visit the CFA website at www.gocfa.org and click on “market.” A vendor application and vendor rules can be printed from the site. Vendors will need to have a completed updated application before setting up. Applications and vendor rules will also be available on market day. Anyone who grows food, makes craft items or has art to sell is welcome at the market.

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