Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Last of the Summer Garden

I did, in steps, put the summer garden away.  I picked the last of the green tomatoes and two (total yield) green peppers and we had them in green tomato curry tonight. I made a final huge batch of pesto from the basil in the front pot and back yard.  I took the whole oregano plant and made a Greek slurry/pesto with it, which we ate over baked potatoes. I dug the rosemary pot out of the bed and brought it inside, sending the big ancestral jade plant over to my sister to make space.  I chopped a pile of summer savory and fermented it to use in soups and salad dressings this winter.

And in what I imagine to be French farmhouse style, I dried the entire thyme plant.  It was a happy note in my kitchen for a week.

Then I roughly stripped most of the leaves off the twigs and bottled it up to store.  Home thyme.

There seems to be no fall garden.  I planted spinach, beets, carrots, and parsnips in August and September - how proud I was to accomplish staggered plantings! and out of all that, 1 beet and 2 spinach clumps came up.  Humph. 

I have noticed more experienced garden bloggers mention casually that such-and-such did not come up as if it is no big deal, but to me, this is still a big deal.  Perhaps I am just playing little-house-on-the-prairie where there's no money or food if the seeds don't grow. 

I should probably just focus on the garden success and count the rest as a learning experience, except I'm not sure I know anything else about how to make beets, carrots, and spinach grow next time. 

In related news, my houseplants are all looking gorgeous right now.  Too bad we can't eat them.


jenny_o said...

I am quite a bit north of you, and our growing season runs roughly from early June to early September. My father used to plant all of his garden, including the items you mentioned, in early June, to be harvested fully mature in September. Do you think your plants may have been started too late to get the benefit of the summer sun? I'm only used to our conditions; it could be much different in your area. Perhaps your late summer sun is the same as our mid-summer, or there is some completely different explanation.

I'm with you - if I were investing my money and time and energy into a garden, I'd want to see results! We have too many resident deer to bother planting anything - we'd need a huge fence and then a bit pill to take for the guilt of not letting them eat the plants :(

jenny_o said...

"big" pill, not bit pill

Hazel said...

I'm intrigued by fermenting the summer savory. I've never heard of fermenting herbs- off to do some research...

Lisa said...

I also was intrigued by that fermented savory - one of my favorite herbs! I'll look into it.

Margo said...

Hazel and Lisa, I got the idea from Sandor Ellix Katz, where most of my good fermentation tips come from. Just chopped the savory, put a brine over it, pressed it under the surface. Let it ferment for 3 days. Capped it and put it in the fridge.

Dianna said...

If it makes you feel better, my fall planting of chard, spinach, and lettuce mostly didn't come up. Boo. Also I planted my peas too late so I have lovely plants that won't bloom in time. :(

But I'm learning. Next time I might try soaking my seeds before I plant.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Getting ready to harvest my last herbs too, freezing here quick...

Jo said...

Diana, pea plant leaves and shoots are good in salad!(OK, not as good as actual peas though..)
Margo, so annoying when seeds don't come up, I quite agree.
Did you keep the carrot seed constantly wet? If I plant them in summer I cover them with damp hessian to keep the seed from drying out, and respray once or twice a day.
Spinach will only germinate in cool weather, so it's a good idea to plant in dappled shade in midsummer. I plant mine in big pots under fruit trees.
Parsnip seed needs to be super fresh to germinate, usually from that same year's seed. If you get parsnips growing successfully, save the seed, and plant it again within a few months.
Beetroot seed can benefit from soaking before planting, overnight or up to 24hrs, which means it should germinate quicker.
Some of this may help, or it may not. Gardening is sometimes a gamble! Aren't you glad you can buy vegetables? I often imagine the desperation of the pioneers and first settlers who relied entirely on their gardens..

momma-lana said...

My fall lettuce and spinach crop was up and growing and beautiful. We were nearing harvesting delicious salads when the squirrels discovered them. They ate every bit of it in two days. Bad squirrels!

Christine said...

I am with you on the gardening fails. Its so much work to just "oh well!" it all! I have all but given up on beets and spinach. They just don't seem to grow in my garden - 3 years now! My fall carrots grew fabulously - and are still in the ground for the children to pick at will. I kept them moist like mentioned above, but completely out of desperation not because of any skill.


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