Meterological Autumn…

…is just a week away, so I thought I’d show you some of the food neighbors have grown in their small plots in the community garden.

A walkway between the raised beds

A walkway between the raised beds

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Iron-laden Swiss Chard

Iron-laden Swiss Chard

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Purple Cabbages, coming along nicely

Purple Cabbages, coming along nicely

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Fresh Dill, to add to a potato salad for a nice lift

Fresh Dill, to add to a potato salad for a nice lift

Physalis philadelphica, or Tomatillo, is a great addition to Salsa Verde

Physalis philadelphica, better known as Tomatillo, is a great addition to Salsa Verde

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Cheery Cherry Tomatoes...I almost wanted to pick the ripest and pop it in my mouth, but I did not--I didn't grow it!

Cheery Cherry Tomatoes…I almost wanted to pick the ripest and pop it in my mouth, but I did not–I didn’t grow it!

Don't know about this...it IS a Tomato, perhaps a newer variety?

Don’t know about this…it IS a Tomato, perhaps a newer variety?

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Small Acorn Squash...they'll be ready to pick in about two weeks

Small Acorn Squash…they’ll be ready to pick in about two weeks

And lastly, at the far end of the garden…

...tiny Crabapples are ripening, just waiting to be pickled and served for Thanksgiving dinner!

…tiny Crabapples are ripening, just waiting to be pickled and served for Thanksgiving dinner!

One huge plus at this location:  There is a water tap, so the gardeners do not have to rely on Mother Nature, who didn’t provide quite enough rain this Summer!

There’ll be some great, fresh meals in a number of homes in the neighborhood–the gardeners’ hard work certainly paid off!

 

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Let the YUMS begin!

A few ambitious, young gardeners began early this season, first taking out half the old soil from their small raised bed at the local Community Garden, then replacing it with compost and weed-free soil.

About a month ago, in spite of Chicago’s cold, late Spring, they planted seeds and a few hardier vegetables.

Here are some of the results, as of last Saturday:

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

 

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

 

Kale

Kale

 

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back--or not?

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back–or not?

 

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

 

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

 

Popeye's favorite--Spinach

Popeye’s favorite–Spinach

 

Green Leaf Lettuce

Green Leaf Lettuce

 

A huge Strawberry plant--the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

A huge Strawberry plant–the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

I have to say, “I am GREEN with envy!”

I did not know…

…quite what to make of these when I saw them in my little local grocer’s (not one of the huge chain stores), so I took a few shots and did some research!

Juju Apples

From the Upland Nursery web site:

Jujube Apples

The jujube is a small, deciduous tree, growing to 40 feet tall in Florida, but smaller in size in California.  The naturally drooping tree is graceful, ornamental and often thorny with branches growing in a zig-zag pattern.  The wood is very hard and strong. Jujube cultivars vary in size and conformation, with some being very narrow in habit and others being more widespread.  One cultivar, the So, seems to be fairly dwarfing in habit.  After 30 years of growth in an average site, trees can be 30 feet tall with a crown diameter of up to 15 feet.

Fruit: The fruit is a drupe, varying from round to elongate and from cherry-size to plum-size depending on cultivar.  It has a thin, edible skin surrounding whitish flesh of sweet, agreeable flavor. The single hard stone contains two seeds.  The immature fruit is green in color, but as it ripens it goes through a yellow-green stage with mahogany-colored spots appearing on the skin as the fruit ripens further.  The fully mature fruit is entirely red.

Shortly after becoming fully red, the fruit begins to soften and wrinkle.  The fruit can be eaten after it becomes wrinkled, but most people prefer them during the interval between the yellow-green stage and the full red stage.  At this stage the flesh is crisp and sweet, reminiscent of an apple.

Under dry conditions jujubes lose moisture, shrivel and become spongy inside.  Tests in Russia indicate a very high vitamin C content.  The fruit has been used medicinally for millennia by many cultures.  One of its most popular uses is as a tea for sore throat.

Harvest: The crop ripens non-simultaneously, and fruit can be picked for several weeks from a single tree.  If picked green, jujubes will not ripen. Ripe fruits may be stored at room temperature for about a week.  The fruit may be eaten fresh, dried or candied.

I didn’t buy any…maybe next time, because they do sound interesting, don’t they?