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      U.P. Gardening Tip - October 28, 2009

      As a gardener, I am always open to new ideas about growing delightful edibles. My big surprise in 2009 was, and is, my late fall garden. I had heard of second/late harvests but never tried one before because of the short U.P. summers. This year, I was willing to try something new and so in my research I ended up following sage advice from the August 2009 issue of Mother Earth News.

      Following the magazine TMs suggested timeline, I started to plant seeds on a rather cold August 20th. It was odd planting seeds with the first turn of red and yellow leaves, but I convinced myself against common sense, to try it once. And am I glad I did.

      As I write this column in mid-November, I have hearty cold weather garden greens! Near my indoor herbal garden, I now have baskets of turnip greens, radishes, parsley and four different kinds of salad leaves. My hearty cold weather crops include Paris White Lettuce, Curled, Arugula and other mixed greens.

      I TMm convinced the cold weather acted as a refrigerator. When the U.P. experienced a hard frost and/or snow mixed with sleet, the tough little greens still flourished. So tonight, as we celebrate my brother, Patrick TMs 55th birthday, I will prepare an awesome salad. I have about a dozen ripe tomatoes left on the window sill and will add them to the salad bowl with a dash of fresh basil and sea salt. This salad will have the freshest taste, so unexpected this time of year.

      I did notice that the lettuce leaves wilt within a day and fresh picked leaves should be used immediately. The leaves will keep about a day in the fridge after picking. Often, I TMm out picking leaves with my flashlight to ensure my family the freshest taste. Harvesting by moonlight is a minor disadvantage that this gardener can live with.

      Gardeners do not be afraid to plant seeds in August 2010.

      TV6 Contributor - Donna Campbell, Master Gardener

      Check out our TV6 Family Garden page for daily tips, local growing tips, and news and video, plus helpful links to gardening fun.