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Ask a Master Gardener: Enjoy fall harvest in soup recipe

by Peter Sutter | November 20, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Brrr! What happened to those warm days we were enjoying? I still have some bulbs my wife would like to get out; I hope it is not too late. My garlic is safely under a nice layer of straw. I did get a couple of heads of cabbage out of the high tunnel before it hit the teens.

A couple of years ago, while looking for a fall crop recipe, I ran across one that uses quite a few fall vegetables and has venison in it. Now, that is perfect timing because I usually just happen to have some venison this time of year too. Of course I had to do a little adjusting, but it really hits the spot on a cold day. Here it is:


1 pounds ground venison

1 onion, chopped

1 large parsnip, sliced

3 medium potatoes, cubed

3 carrots, sliced

1 small rutabagas, peeled and cubed

1 (16 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (use the last of the fresh ones)

3 cubes beef bouillon

6 cups water

1/2 medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Brown venison and onions in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in onion, parsnip, potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, tomatoes, bouillon, water, cabbage, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 1-2 hours.

While you are enjoying that savory bowl of soup it might be a good time to think about next year's garden plan. It is best to do this while this year's garden is fresh on your mind. There are some important factors that can make gardening more fun and more successful. Right now you will have a better recollection of some of those factors.

A good place to start is the placement of the garden. Did it get enough sunlight? Most garden plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day; more is better. Trees and shrubs can compete with the garden plants for sunlight, nutrients and moisture. Walnut trees should be avoided as the roots produce a toxin that prevents vegetable growth.

Is the water supply convenient? If not, it can be easy to put off needed frequent watering of seedlings and transplants. How close is the garden to the house (kitchen)? It is easier to make use of the produce if it is handy. Being able to see the garden while planning a menu can inspire a meal based on what is ready ... like the soup above.

Happy gardening (or garden planning)!

Peter Sutter is a lifelong gardening enthusiast and a participant in the MU Extension's Callaway County Master Gardener program. Gardening questions can be sent to [email protected].

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