Today is the autumn equinox, the end of summer and beginning of fall. In the kitchen garden, this end of one season and beginning of the next has become especially visible. Over the past weeks and days I’ve pulled the withered foliage of summer growing plants from their beds and in their place have spread compost and planted cover crops. As I smoothed and admired the dark brown soil of these beds my eye also wandered to other beds filled with the robust foliage of fall and winter crops, shiny green and red of chard and varied leaves of radicchio and kale, blue green spears of leeks, scoop-shaped leaves of Brussels sprouts, giant rosettes of winter cabbage, flopping leaves of rutabaga and turnips and feathery tops of carrots, parsnips and celery root.
In the rush of summer harvests I paid little attention to these slowly growing hardy greens and roots but now they stand out against the emptied summer beds. They signal the beginning of a new season in the kitchen garden, meals rich with strong, earthy flavors, perfect for the shorter days ahead. After our long and lovely summer, I’m ready for the new season to begin.