Last night we had a hard frost here in northern New Hampshire. Despite the glittery ice frosting the plants in the garden as well as the flowers in the window boxes, stark reminders of the growing season lie on the kitchen counter, fresh garden tomatoes. Red ripe juicy globes await to be roasted into sweet caramelized sauce. An overflowing bowl of more tomatoes will be simmered slowly into a thick spaghetti sauce for pasta.
Every late September into early October, I allot my weekends to put up my tomatoes. Sometimes I make spaghetti sauce and others I roast them. In preparation for the sauce, first I boil them with their skins on. After that I plunge the beauties into a cold water bath. This process makes it easier to skin them.
With cutting board and a sharp knife, I cut out bad spots. Next I load them in the blender and pulse it so they’re smooth. It’s time to simmer the sauce with basil, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, a tablespoon of Olive Oil and two tablespoons of sugar. I also add Prego Spaghetti sauce to thicken it. It still tastes homemade but hold together better in a thick yummy sauce.
Tomatoes are a wonderful tasty addition to stir frys, grilled cheese sandwiches, pesto veggie sandwiches and one of Tom’s favorites BLTs. Once you’ve home grown your own tomatoes, you get spoiled for the taste knocks it out of the ballpark and you can’t go back to store bought. The taste just isn’t the same!
Can you taste that scrumptious tomato? I’ll enjoy a few more before next September. The wait will be long and difficult, but it will be well worth the wait!
Well the gardening season is approaching it’s end in northern New Hampshire. So far we have only had a frost or two, enough to blacken and crinkle the plant leaves. I’ve been spending my time picking tomatoes, carrots and the last of the zucchini and broccoli. Every time I’m ready to bid goodbye to all the picking and vegetable gathering, a growth spurt comes out of nowhere. The sunny pleasant days are tending to the zucchini plants, still surprising me with little deep green beauties, a harvest of close to two months! ( Even with frosted leaves!) Teeny green broccoli sprigs tower above the plants, making it easy to snip them off. Carrots continue to grow and thrive, as well as the snappy healthy tops. I’ve always thought they look perfect for a garnish!
About a week ago Tom and Dylan moved the greenhouse to the garden from the back tall grass. Tom cleverly placed it over our best tomato plants. I’ve been watering them and picking as many red ones as I can. Because the season is ending soon, I’m picking the green tomatoes as well and bringing them inside. It works really well to ripen them in paper bags, then I make my homemade pasta sauce for the freezer. That way we can enjoy the taste of the garden in the long winter months!
My Butternut squash plants grew long vines which I draped over our fence. Here and there squashes grew amongst the leaves sporting a deep green color. For weeks I’ve waited for them to turn a tan color with no avail. I think this happened in previous years but I don’t remember if I left them on the vine or picked them. Any suggestions from my fellow gardeners? I do love Butternut squash and hope I can eat these!
Here is a sample of my late September harvest! The wooden tray I picked up at the annual Chelsea Flea Market held in July. It’s handy because there are two holes on each side for gathering. Next year I may fashion tough rope handles through them.
As September closes and our leaves turn red, yellow and pink, my garden is slowing turning brown and eventually everything will be put to bed. It’s been a great growing season with my favorites being cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and fresh basil. I’ll truly miss my morning jaunts deep in the growing vines beyond our home. The bird songs, bright sunshine, buzzing busy bees and lovely Monarch Butterflies will remain in my memory as special accompaniments to the garden.
With fall here and weather changes rolling in, I succumb to the natural order of things. All good things must end, therefore my joy of gardening can be pushed aside until next May. In the meantime I’ll pour over photos and sketch a plot map for next year.
Most gardeners know there’s a harvest time of scarcity and a time of plenty. Usually when the garden starts producing, it’s slow. I pick rich green leaves of lettuce and herbs first while I patiently wait for other veggies to be ready. It’s mid- August and I’ve been picking zucchini consistently for about two weeks. Most days I pick at least two or three green squashes. Bringing my kitchen shears comes in handy as I need them to cut the thick stem while I hold the squash stem tightly with my other hand and twist it. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a severed stem. This happened to me the other day forcing me to use that squash right away. It seems to dry out without a stem.
Some ways I use zucchini are:
zucchini mini bread
chocolate zucchini bread
zucchini carrot muffins
chocolate zucchini cake
stuffed zucchini with hamburger, rice, chopped tomatoes and cheese ( made pretty closely to stuffed peppers but in a hollowed out zucchini squash )
sautéed zucchini with summer squash ( in butter)
zucchini spice whoopie pies ( see a recipe soon!)
However you use this hearty vegetable, it will surely satisfy your family!
Thankfully zucchini is easy to grow and hard to kill. No matter the weather, the plants always grow well with enough weeding and watering. Every year I tend to have too much of it so I share with family and my co- workers. In past years I’ve grown less but this year I had a lot from seeds, about eight vivacious plants.
All My Best,
Heart and Soul 🥰
Thanks to my honey Tom I have an Oriental Lily in my garden greeting every visitor at the cusp of the door. This thoughtful man gifted it to me on my birthday. Last week I was surprised when two opened up wide and two days later another two bloomed. It’s aromatic presence entices and soothes your olfaction receptors. Ah, a beautiful scent! I can even smell it inside the kitchen through the window screen!
You may remember from a post a few weeks ago that my Coneflowers weren’t doing so well from the late cool start. Now they all have blossomed and are doing well. I noticed they aren’t as tall as I’d like but I imagine they will grow taller every year, weather providing.
Cilantro is an interesting herb with a pungent wild scent that lingers on my fingers after picking. The woodsy green plant sports beautiful leaves and sprigs. I discovered cilantro a few years ago and have been growing it ever since. I love the taste added to different dishes especially salsa and hummus!
My favorite thing to do with it is to add it to salsa for a fresh taste. This year I stumbled upon a recipe for Cilantro Hummus on Pinterest and have made it twice now. It skips using Tahini but uses fresh garden Cilantro, chick peas, salt and pepper and olive oil. I love it with gluten free pretzels or spread on a veggie sandwich!
Yesterday I picked a bunch of Cilantro, washed it, dried it with paper towels and chopped it up fine. Next I put a bit in each ice cube tray, topped it off with olive oil and water so it would freeze quickly. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place in a marked freezer bag. When I wish to cook with the herb I simply need to get a cube out of the bag! It’s easy! I also do this with my Basil.
Here is my adapted version of the recipe I found on foodfaithfitness.com. Her recipe includes Jalapeno and Tom and I don’t eat it, it’s too spicy for us.
You will need for my version:
1- 15 oz can Chickpeas drained ( I buy Goya)
2-3 Tbsp. Cilantro finely chopped ( I have a Pampered Chef Garlic press…it’s great!)
2 cloves garlic peeled
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Water
Place everything in food processor or blender. Add Olive oil and water. Blend until smooth. Now you are done! I stored mine in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Serve with pita chips, pretzels, fresh veggie crudités or spread on a sandwich. Delicious!
It’s early August and at this point of the summer I go out twice to my garden. First in the morning it’s weeding and hoeing work between rows in the fresh air. Next I haul the hose over and water it if it hasn’t rained recently. Later in the afternoon I saunter out in the bright sunshine with my new garden tray I bought at a flea market. With scissors in hand I walk the plot with intentions of finding veggies that are ready for picking. Lately we are getting deep green zucchini, cilantro, basil, lettuce ( it’s actually going by now), cucumbers, some spinach and green beans.
I’ve noticed our sweet corn is tall and seems to be crowning with tassels but there appears to be hardly any ears of corn! Why do you think this would happen, poor irrigation? Pollination problems? Anyway usually our corn is ready by late August so I’m predicting that’s not enough time for them to grow, right? Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m reminded that every year something doesn’t grow as planned and that forces me to become an investigator of sorts to solve the problem.
Yesterday I broke the news to my husband, the man whose total garden focus is corn. He went right out there inspecting the stalks and remains hopeful that some will grow, just later than usual. If we don’t yield corn I’ll stop by the local farmer’s market and stock up or the freezer. That will be a bummer so I pray that we have our own!
Has this ever happened to you before? Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance for your insight.
While I was on hands and knees a few days ago, suddenly I spotted a green bean swaying ever so gently in the breeze. It’s always like unwrapping a present and a surprise reveals itself. I know I’m meant to garden and dig in the soil, for I never tire of nature’s gifts. I’d rather spend my summer kneeling in the patch rather than being anywhere else.
When I think of green beans, one vivid memory comes to mind. Years ago, when my son Dylan was a little boy, he discovered snapping off beans and eating them right away! He frequented the plot with one main intention…to pick green beans. Picture a young boy with no shirt, barefoot strolling through the patch in the blazing heat of the day.
To this day Dylan will take a sandwich bag of snappy green beans to munch on. Last year I gave him and his wife Lexi a bag for their dinner and he ate them all on the way home! Today once again he asked kindly for his green beans and I obliged with love. I love my son and the fact that he loves green beans! Here are some ways I use my fresh green beans:
Toss them in a salad
Sauté with olive oil and slivered almonds
Serve with sausage and potatoes
Have green beans with cooked ham and mashed potatoes
Goes great in a stir-fry
It doesn’t matter how you use them for these versatile veggies are wholesome , healthy and delicious straight from the garden!
Last year I successfully grew a sunflower patch. There were golden ones, rich reds and maroon hues as well as sunny yellows. They stretched tall from eight feet to about 12! I remember seeing people in cars slowing down to admire their beauty. They definitely bring some sunshine and happiness to my day. I look forward to seeing them grow up, probably emerging in a month or so. I will pick some for inside and leave some in the patch.
Do you grow sunflowers? Do you pick them or enjoy them from your yard?
It’s mid July in our neck of the woods, a season of sultry sun and bursts of fresh rain. Amid the hundreds of insects flying and crawling, flowers bloom eagerly as if to say, “ I’m here! Look at me.” A collage of colors surrounds us, ever changing all the time so I don’t blink but capture each moment.
Glowing golden Coreopsis shows it’s face in front of my house. Wispy Catmint sports purple blossoms.
My window boxes are flowing now with deep reds, perky pinks and subtle white Bicopas drape over its edges. Oh how I love them!
Lavender purples plume upward as buzzing bees visit often and enjoy them as much as I do!
This is my east corner of the house, a shady spot where my Astilbe grow as well as spring blooming Lily of the Valley.
I hope your yard is immersed in many colors! Don’t you think they make us happy?