Thursday, November 17, 2005


What does this colander full of jalapeños and The World's Tiniest and Cutest Yams signify?

That finally, last night, our weather dipped to 32 degrees. So at dinnertime yesterday, I was out there constructing elaborate straw-and-garbage-bag houses over the tomatoes and eggplant (which is still putting out fruit...can you believe it?) and harvesting the vegetables whose time had come.

The yam plants weren't started until August, which was way too late for them to reach their potential. It was a whim: I had yams in the pantry that were sprouting like crazy, so I cut out the eyes and stuck them in a couple of dirt hills that happened to be empty.* It turns out they are phenomenally easy to grow, and fascinating, too. They send out a nest of yam-colored tendrils underground which, given enough time, thicken into tubers.

The plants were already beginning to curl from previous cold snaps. They are extremely sensitive to frost. I knew I wasn't giving them enough time, but there was no help for it. Still, I must say I was impressed with the small collection of mini-yams I managed to get, even after the season was mostly over! I can't wait to grow them again next year.

The s.o. thinks we should parboil these mini-yams whole and then deep-fry them in a tempura batter. I do love the way that man thinks.

As of this morning, I am not even sure we had a hard frost last night. But I don't regret the precautions I took, because the forecast calls for three more nights in the lower 30s and even (brr!) upper 20s. It really is time for the big change in the garden. To ignore that would be folly.

So now we turn our attention to plasticking the windows and stuffing insulation in our inoperable fireplace flues. It's time to be snug!

P.S. Our 12x14 hoophouse (polytunnel, for my U.K. readers) is almost done. I will post pictures when it is ready. One day soon there will be year-round salads at 10 Signs Farm.

* Thanks to the work of my diligent enemies, the squash bugs. Watch out this year, you little bastards; I am armed with diatomaceous earth! You have been warned.