And yes, here we go ... the seed-starting tables, lights, heat mats and other supplies are all set up and ready to go. I already have tomato starts and the pepper seeds are soaking on the heat mat. It really is the most magical time of the year ... well, short of harvest. :)

The golden zucchini harvest is well underway! And the garden is looking awesome. I have never seen so many tomatoes as we have growing here (and hundreds more in the crop circle garden). I’m taking armloads of zucchini to work every day! And yes, there is the shadow of me.

Today I harvested all the scarlet red runner bean pods. Some have already dried out on the vine, but most are still green. Here, I have them spread out on racks in the greenhouse to dry. I am planning to harvest the beautiful purple beans. Not sure what I'll do with them yet, as this is the first year I've grown these. :)

This was my pepper harvest today ... these were growing in one of my cold frames. Not too bad, for the middle of October in the Pacific Northwest!!!

These cold Fall and Winter months when I can't be out working the gardens, my passions turn toward cooking. Today was a good day for it, and I made a huge batch of beef pepper stew, some dill pickle bread and some olive/green pepper quiche for dinner. Pictured here is my first attempt at this delightful Dill Pickle bread. It rises fast and, if worked properly, is well formed and with a wonderful taste not overwhelming, but suggestive of the wonderful taste of dill.  Here's how I made it:

Frustrated when it comes to growing onions on the Pacific Northwest? Here's a suggestion for you. I have grown Copra hybrid onions from Territorial Seed for two years now, and have had a 100 percent success ratio with this. As of the time of this writing, we are still enjoying fresh onions from last year's garden. They grow to medium size (some grow larger) and they keep up to a year. I am loving these onions. I just ordered more seed today. Give them a try! Feel free to ask questions, or let me know how you've done with them.

OMG, I just realized that I haven’t updated this in a while! You see, I’ve been busy! It’s been a great gardening year! Thus far, I have given away bags and bags of rhubarb, more than 125 zucchinis and have harvested 42 Copra onions, nearly 150 cippolini onions, buckets of “Fooled You Jalapeno” peppers, other peppers, some tomatoes (though not in any quantity yet) and the list goes on. All my gardens now are huge canopies of green, and as we move farther into the harvest season, it will be like opening Christmas presents as I peel my way into it….

Our Baker Creek Heirloom Golden Sweet Snow Peas are starting to come into harvest now. Though they look green in this photo, the pea pods are yellow and the plants have gorgeous purple flowers. From India, these are a real treat in the garden.

As you can see here, my peppers are right on schedule! These are Serrano peppers, and I look forward to another great crop! Last year, I had so many Serranos I was practically shoving them into open car windows at the local Fred Meyer store. Peppers can some times be challenging to start, so I am going to share my technique with you.

1) First, I put some pepper seeds into a shot glass, and fill it with lukewarm water. I soak them for four days in a warm location - usually, on the mantel over my fireplace. CHECK THEM DAILY so that the water doesn't evaporate out of the shot glass.

Perhaps the only thing better than browsing seed catalogs during the winter months is the time spent starting the seeds! Here, I've got Winterbor Kale, Dwarf Green Kale, Frizzy Headed Drunken Woman lettuce, Sweet Thai Basil and Arugula started and under grow lights. I have more started out in the greenhouse - we'll see how that goes. A week ago, we had seven inches of snow. Today, it was 82 degrees in the greenhouse. Guess where I spent most of my day? :)

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