Sunday, November 04, 2007

Return to Walatoola

I made my now traditional fall pilgrimage to Walatoola in Bath County, VA this week ostensibly to help with the garlic planting. As it turns out I received much more from my hosts than I contributed in farm labor.

The vegetable garden produced well this year. (I failed to photograph the huge cluster of ribbons from the Highland County Fair.) The first killer frost hit last Sunday and most of our work was confined to pulling up the dead plants and preparing the garlic beds for planting. We amended the garlic beds with peat, vermiculite and blood meal. An overabundance of hot red peppers, Thai and cayenne, dotted the landscape. And already my hosts had strung dried peppers with dishes of them waiting to be strung.

I also busied myself harvesting saffron crocus. As I worked my way down the row putting the flowers and their precious stamens in my hat, I realized that these little flowers were the only show in town for the eager butterflies and bees. When I got to the last four plants, there was quite a traffic jam of wildlife clustered there, and my HAT was filled with butterflies as well.
a hat full of saffron crocus

I was introduced at my first evening meal to a new winter squash they grew this year called "Sucre du Berry". It is about the color of a cantaloupe inside and it has a naturally sweet flavor. And I also saw my first Sibley squash, though I didn't get to taste it.sucre du berrry winter squash

Sibley winter squash

I left the farm on Thursday morning loaded with canned goods and peppers and fresh herbs and some arugula. Once again a good time on the east side of Warm Springs Mountain.
uncovering the herb beds in the morning
7 garlic beds ready to plant

2 comments:

theysaywordscanbleed said...

what a nice haul! i wish i'm capable of growing my own plants and flowers

Rose said...

Nothing brings a smile to one's face like a bountiful harvest. Even though your visit was to close the season, your words make me long to get outside and try to hang on to what's left of this one. I'm already planning for next year.