It's difficult to imagine that Labor Day weekend has already come and gone. I have been negligent in writing a monthly blog entry this summer. Once again the busy season whirled by us - selling gardens; installing gardens; going to events; talking to people about their gardens; helping people maintain their gardens. The company's second growing season has kept us on our toes from March all the way through until the last days of August. September's arrival has us preparing for our next event at Live Green CT coming up September 13-14th. and we are working on a presentation about the health benefits of having a small vegetable garden which we will present at the season opening meeting of the National Charity League.
Most of August I spent
time in our clients' and our own garden pruning back the tomato plants -
particularly the wildly big cherry tomatoes we planted this year. There
are many gardeners out
there who don't prune their tomato plants at all. There is an old
gardener's adage: if you do prune you will have less but larger fruit,
than if you don't prune your plants. Towards the end of the summer, I
like to prune our indeterminate plants because I believe that by pruning
the unnecessary leaves the plants energy is diverted into the fruit and
flowers instead of the foliage. I also like to make sure the plant has
plenty of airflow circulation to prevent disease from building up by
clipping back the branches filled with leaves, which tend to catch the
wind. I have some plants in containers which if I don't trim them the
leaves get so clustered together that it catches the wind and on a gusty
day I have found my container on it's side! A clear sign I needed to
prune back the foliage so the air could cut through the branches giving
plant healthy airflow.
Many times, early in the morning, as I am
watching the dogs trot through the backyard I have considered that I
should go over to my computer and write an entry about all the things we
have been doing. But instead, I would head out to our garden with my
camera and coffee in hand and try to capture beauty of the garden in the
morning. The cooler temperatures this season more often than not have
forced me to put a robe on which did nothing for my bare feet on the
cold grass from the wet morning dew. I think we only had 3 or 4 days
where the mercury rose to 90 degrees of above this summer. We have had
to be patient waiting for the peppers to fully ripen to the various
shades of red, orange and purple; I believe it takes a little more heat
in order for them to fully flourish. This Labor Day weekend was hot and
steamy and it has continued to remain humid. Hopefully the peppers
will appreciate this little spell of hot weather.
Last week I felt
the urgency to get my fall/winter garden seeded. With the way time
flies the frosts of winter could be here before we know what hit us.
Particularly if the threat of the polar vortex making a possible early appearance in September topped
with El Nino winter not too far behind. About a month ago we put in
another new raised bed, a beautiful cedar 4' x 8' raised bed from our
friends down in North Carolina. I had to drag out the dog fence so the
pack wouldn't run around and mess it up like they had after the fresh
compost was added days earlier. I seeded a bunch of cole crops:
arugula, kale, broccoli, cauliflower along with some carrots and onions.
The carrots I selected for this garden were Autumn King, Giants of Colmar, Paris Market and Meridia. In our Maine Kitchen Garden bed between the tomato and pepper plants there was a bunch of space so I seeded Harris Model Parsnips, a few varieties of lettuce: Winter Density, Winter Brown and Marvel of 4 Seasons; as well as a couple of varieties of spinach: Palco and Winter Giant.
I look forward to the promise of what this autumn/winter garden could
possibly provide my family. Just think of the salads, soups, sauces and
sides we could enjoy!
far we have managed to can 9 quarts of tomato sauce for the winter and
with the looks of things in the garden we will be able to do a lot more
canning before the season is through. We filmed a video about canning
which I need to edit first but once it's ready to go I will do a whole
blog entry dedicated to canning. Smells trigger memories and standing
over a simmering pot of tomato sauce can transport me back in to the
garden with all its colors and fragrance even on the bleakest of winter
days. Every time we crack open a jar of our homegrown homemade sauce
that we canned, we recapture tiny moments of summer which flew by all
too fast at the time.