The front garden in winter. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

We spend time in the summer growing produce and then spend time in the winter cooking it up and eating it. Not a bad arrangement. There are folks willing to point out that a person would do better spending the time earning money and spending the money at the grocery store. No matter how you cut it, if you want to eat you’ll be spending something unless, of course, somebody else is spending it for you.


Carrots fresh out of the root cellar. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

Today, the root cellar is at about 38°F. with the outdoor temperature around 24°F. What a pleasant feeling to go down there and grab a few apples (from one of my father-in-law’s standard macintosh trees), some red and Yukon gold potatoes, and carrots dug out of their moist sand storage.

Winter squash stores on shelves at the foot of the basement stairs, along with red and yellow onions. The yellows are storing well but the reds, as you might expect, are sprouting quite fiercely. The temperature in this space is around 50-55°F., depending on how high on the shelves you’re measuring it. This is an ideal temperature for the squash but the onions might go for a lower reading.


Assorted lettuce in a cold frame with a few blades of last summer’s wheatgrass. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

There are 3 red cabbages in the fridge, and about 200 cubes of wheatgrass juice in the freezer.

It’s said that onions and apples shouldn’t be stored near potatoes because outgassing by the former may cause spoilage of the latter. I keep the onions out of the root cellar but have let the apples in. So far, no apparent problems.


Hidatsa beans posing as modern art before being cooked up into a tasty dish. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

Hidatsa and Arikara dried beans are stored in jars in a cabinet upstairs.

Alayna froze a whole lot of peppers, red and green, and kale, and broccoli, and Swiss chard. This stuff, along with the red onion shoots, finds its way into omelets, pizza topping, and stir fries, as well as being served as a solo dish (not the onion shoots). No shortage of greens on the table year-round.


These were once thriving broccoli plants. They can stand cool weather, but not winter.  Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

She canned tomato juice in the fall and now is making soup with carrots, celery, potatoes, bits of greens, broccoli, and onions. Often we make a basic soup and then add leftovers as we use up other foods.


Raspberry plants cut down for winter will be 6 feet tall and full of berries in not too many months. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

We also peeled, sliced and froze 5 quarts of apples. There weren’t enough raspberries to freeze, although I enjoyed them on my breakfast cereal throughout the summer and well into the fall.


The last of a batch of baked “french fries.” Time to raid the root cellar. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

I’ve vowed this winter to roast one butternut squash a week, to make baked french fries once a week, and to boil up a pound or two of carrots with the same frequency. As of today I’m running one to two weeks behind.


Russian Kale putting up a valiant fight against the winter. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

The outdoor produce, what there is of it, has survived so far, although the Russian kale looks a little disappointed under a 4-inch blanket of snow. Lettuce is hanging on in one cold frame and leeks and more Russian kale are holding up well in another. The cold frame kale is doing very well compared to its unprotected outside comrades.


Another cold frame with kale on the left, looking a lot better than its compatriots on the outside. Leeks, on the right, are doing fine. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

But we’ll see, sometimes greens are looking like they’ve given up the ghost only to spring back to life with a shot of sunshine.


A pak choi volunteered to serve in the cold frame along with some lettuce. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

A self-seeded paste tomato has been growing in an orchid pot since spring. It has developed one tomato this month and had developed others earlier. The orchid is doing ferschlunct.


A red paste tomato indoors in January. What will they think of next? Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

I plan on continuing to do things into the future the way I have done in the past.


The back garden in winter. Image courtesy of Kool Cat.

The basic satisfactions of growing, harvesting, and eating one’s own food, at least a good share of it, far outweigh the satisfaction of going to the grocery store.