What a welcome relief to get a tiny bit of rain over the weekend. I was pleased to read in last week’s paper that September was the driest one in 67 years. I felt validated in my opinion. I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety over the droughty situation. Interestingly, both vinca and hostas seem to hold up well regardless of dryness. One would imagine something so fleshy might require more moisture.
I did quite a bit of harvesting this week. Because I was so tardy getting my tomatoes planted, they are coming in now. Several people have mentioned that their tomatoes are over for the season. Wouldn’t it be great if I remembered to plant them over a period of several weeks for a more consistent harvest next season?
This seems to be a great year for eggplant. I picked an entire grocery bagful. I cut it into small chunks, sauté in olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar and pop it into freezer bags. It is a great addition to winter tomato sauces. I often use the hand-held blender to disguise it from children and other eggplant skeptics.
Happily, I was able to get another picking of green beans. They actually are still blooming so if a freeze holds off I should get one more in a week or so.
I made a batch of dilly beans for the fridge. Pour the cooked beans and vinegar solution into hot Ball jars and they will seal. They will keep in the refrigerator until Christmas. Since I did not process in a water bath canner for the required 10 minutes, refrigeration is a must.
I finally organized my attached greenhouse so it is ready to receive.
I love to save geraniums and begonias over the winter. The geraniums are so dependable — giving a cheerful bloom in the darkest days. The begonias — not so much — but they revive nicely in the spring and are way ahead for another season.
I’ve started to pull the gladioli. The bulbs can be tossed into a bag of peat moss along with calla lilies and tuberous begonias. Keep them dry and protect them from freezing.
Some people are not fond of the gladiolus. They tend to be a bit funeralesque. I like just a few here and there for height in an annual bed.
I’m so pleased with some of my volunteers this year. Amaranth, cosmos and sunflowers popped up hither and yon in the vegetable garden. Early in the season I had red poppies and cilantro gone to flower all over the place. The trick is recognition in the spring and/or neglect of weeding.
I’ve been tossing seed heads of bachelor buttons all around to add to the mix for next year. Nigella — aka love-in-a-mist — is another reliable reseeder, as well as cleome.
I’ve been collecting seed heads on the job sites. I gathered some perennial yellow Russian hollyhock seeds. I wish I could tell you I stored them properly. They are wadded into a potato chip bag on the dashboard of the truck. In my perfect world, I’d carry around envelopes and label them correctly. They should be stored in a moisture-proof can for the winter. I will plant them by February as the newly seeded perennials can take a freeze in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.
Indulge me. I’m a bit scattered. I’d like to go back to my comments about eggplant. My friend Marie made eggplant chili. She sauteed it along with onions, carrots and garlic and added that to the tomato-bean mixture. It was a very hearty meatless dish.
Sometimes if I make a chili that is too large for our family, I layer it with cheddar cheese and soft corn tortillas for a lasagna-type Mexican dish. It can be frozen for a later date after folks forget they were sick of it. My mother raised me to never waste food so I’ve learned to be creative with leftovers. I think the starving children of China were mentioned frequently. (It was the 50s for heaven’s sake!) I imagine Chinese children are doing quite well now. That is, the ones not working for multi-national corporations.
I imagine if the tables were turned and Nancy Pelosi were still House Speaker trying to quell a left-wing extremist faction of the Democratic party, she would have twice the backbone of John Boehner.
Let me say again those people have to stop paying themselves or get to work.