As we roll into the early stages of autumn, I find myself realizing that I’ve not posted here since late July!?! Awful! I’m going to try going with a regular monthly post and adding in extra posts as needed to make things both more consistent and easier on myself (you should see the number of unfinished drafts I’ve got rotting away…)
In any event, I took August and the post-showing weeks to take a bit of a break from the garden. Its ridiculous because we only get to garden for precious few months a year, but usually by August I need a little time away from worrying about weeding and deadheading and figuring out what to do with all the cucumbers. The cooler temperatures that are seeping into the weeks now are the perfect entry back into it.
The Veg Garden is clipping along nicely. There are already winners (cabbage, peppers, Butternut squash) and losers (Black Beauty tomato, amaranth, celery). We’ve been drowning all season long in cucumbers and beans. But all in all, we’ve been pleased with the output and have learned more about unusual greens and what we do and don’t like.
We’ve had a really wonderful Daylily season here and the garden is slowly fading into its Autumn iteration… the Sedums are all looking lovely and the asters are prepping for their show.
Happily the overall effect is still rather soothing and enjoyable. I’m only stressing about the rogue Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) seedlings that just won’t admit they’ve been evicted.
This month will surely be a rollercoaster of weather and slowly working towards putting the old girl (no, she’s a teenager) to bed for the winter ahead. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet…
I’d like to include a (or a few) recipe(s) you can make rightthisminute with the things that are in over-abundance.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes (aka Confit Tomatoes):
I think there are a couple hundred versions of this, but it is my favorite way to preserve the tomato bounty late in the season. Here’s my take on it:
Set your oven as low as it will go (ours is 170F).
Line as many rimmed baking sheets as you think you’ll need with parchment paper (don’t use aluminum foil, if you don’t have parchment paper, don’t line your sheets).
Slice your tomatoes (smaller and Roma types are best) in half and lay cut side up. Don’t be afraid to crowd them in!
Drizzle liberally with olive oil (not the fancy stuff) and season really well with salt and pepper.
Place your trays in the oven for at least 8 hours, up to 10 or 12 depending on how big your tomatoes are. Let cool and package in reusable containers or zip top bags and freeze.
When you are ready to use them, just defrost and pop them into stews, sauces, or cook them down to make an out of this world tomato sauce or soup. The flavor gets so concentrated and unctuous!
I’m going to start including some links to articles that I think are interesting (rather than trying to create a post around said articles) and want to share with you guys. Hopefully you’ll find them as interesting as I have.
Podcasts: Proof, episode “Who Owns Nature”– a fascinating dive into plant patents ranging from the Stark Brothers, the Russet Burbank potato, and the first Golden Delicious tree to Monsanto. This certainly throws hybridized vs. open pollinated vs. small seed companies vs. conglomerates into question and makes one think more carefully about their purchases.
Here, the top lists of things to do is enjoy the actual garden. Like, sit out in the cooler weather and bask in the greenness of it all. The smells, the sounds, the way all the green changes the light making it warmer and more enticing.
Second, it is to process and put up as much of the veggies and you can. The cucumbers are a lost cause here, but the tomatoes and peppers are still coming in hot and heavy. We’re doing all we can to store it all.
Third, make notes and lists! Jot down all those mental notes and take stock of what you think could use some attention next season. All of it will be lost in that post-holiday blur in January, so make those notes now!
Fourth, plan out what last project and big clean ups need to happen before the snow flies. For us, that’ll be cleaning up the Veg Garden, cutting down the messier perennials (but keeping the ones that hold up to winter well), winterizing the pond, plotting out the prairie areas that need a fall burn, and bringing in whatever potted plants need safekeeping from the cold.
Alright team, I hope this post finds you all well and again, I apologize for the lack of posting. Be safe, be smart, and go enjoy your gardens!