21 October 2013

Jardinage d'octobre

We actually got out in the garden yesterday and did some clean-up work. We're still getting over the colds, but we're a lot better, and the weather is weirdly warm for late October. The weather report on TéléMatin just pointed out that we are currently enjoying des températures dignes de la mi-septembre.

Garden tools just begging to be put to work

So on a Sunday morning, Walt picked up and composted at least three, maybe four, wheelbarrow loads of apples that had fallen to the ground. He wants to try to mow the grass one more time before cold weather sets in.

Des pommes, des pommes, et encore des pommes

Meanwhile, I pulled out all the tomato plants — nearly 30 of them. That involves cutting the ties holding the vines onto support stakes, and then pulling out all the stakes and putting them away. The next step is uprooting the plants themselves and carrying them over to a big pile of yard trimmings and clippings that we hope to burn soon. I also pulled out half a dozen big squash plants of different kinds.

Nasturtium volunteers taking over a garden plot

The main things still growing in the garden now are greens: kale and collards. I've jumped on the kale bandwagon. I'd never grown the plant before and it's doing well. The collard greens are suffering from snail and slug attacks because of the rainy weather we've had — the leaves are full of holes.

The greens of the moment: kale

When I mentioned to my mother in North Carolina that snails were attacking the collards but not the kale, she immediately said: "Well, that proves what we know: collards taste better." I'm not sure why anglophone expats in Paris are so kale-crazy these days.

I hope this kale is as good as the kale I ate in Albany NY in 2012 and in Morehead City NC last April.

I think I'll harvest the kale this week and cook it for freezing or canning. I know a lot of people say they don't like greens cooked as I think they should be cooked, but Walt and I do. I'll simmer the kale leaves with lightly sautéed onions, a sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes, and a well-flavored chicken broth — adding some white wine for sweetness. I want the kale greens to be tender and succulent, not tough and crunchy.


  1. I expect someone's discovered some amazing health benefit from kale. Personally, I prefer the taste of chard, and just wish it would turn up more where I shop.

  2. Ohhhh, kale is THE thing here in the bio world (which really also means all young yuppy types who shop at Whole Foods) :) It is really being embraced by lots of folks who are into healthy veggie eating-- apparently, it does have great health benefits.

  3. I suspect even the snails have
    discovered that collards aren't
    as tough as kale. Some people
    even advocate using it as a salad

  4. It looks to me more like those garden tools were begging to be left alone.

  5. beautiful first shot - fabulous!

  6. Like Judith said, Kale is the current veggie du jour in the USA, even Alabama.

    I like it cooked until it is soft, but lots of people seem to cook it less than I prefer. I like your idea of adding chicken broth and a bit of wine.

  7. A big thing with kale is to make kale chips by roasting the leaves in the oven. The chips are touted as a healthy alternative to potato chips. I made some. Meh. OK but nothing to get excited about.


  8. I always loved kale and raised it for years. But I had never tasted collard greens until we joined a CSA farm. I now think they do taste better! But I still really like kale and used to love how long it lasted and that I could still harvest it when the leaves were covered with snow...

    Kale chips are delicious too and easy to make at home.

  9. Looking at your top photo without my glasses on, gave it a really impressionist painting feel.
    I wonder if that's how the impressionist's wave started - by an artists with poor eyesight!

  10. It seems a shame to waste all that fruit. Is there no one to whom you can give it?

  11. Starman, apples are so over-abundant here that there is no way to get rid of them besides composting them.


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