The ranch presents a difficult environment for gardening with an average of just 63 frost free days a year and many voracious herbivores that like to help with the harvest prematurely. We have worked hard to develop our vegetable garden and it has been producing for well over half a century. There are a few hardy perennials including horseradish, delicious with our home-reared roast beef and rhubarb with which the chef makes an unmatched strawberry-rhubarb pie. Asparagus sprouts each spring and makes a delicious quiche ingredient. Mint and chives come back every summer but we need to replant parsley, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and sage.
In the spring the garden catalogs arrive and seeds are ordered. Spinach often self seeds and it is the first fresh organic produce to be picked and supplied to the kitchen. We are serving some of our homegrown salads by mid July, although these can be hard hit by the ground squirrels. When they start to hibernate in late August the garden really takes off. During the later part of the season we are enjoying peas, swiss chard, carrots, beets and new potatoes in addition to a variety of heirloom lettuces. Another advantage of visiting the ranch in the fall!