Garden Daybook 9/24/12

Cooler temperatures and shorter days are putting pressure on every growing thing to finish what each was born to do – flower/fruit/set seed/ and shrivel in the coming frost. I am also feeling the crunch. Stay busy, Fran, stay busy!

The tomato plants are more brown than green and the last of this summer’s tomatoes are ripening slowly in the cool temperatures. I brought a big basket of ripe tomatoes into the kitchen this afternoon. I cleaned, quartered, and heated them in my big stock pot. I pushed the warmed chunks through a crank strainer and loaded the juice into a big crock pot. I don’t use the lid on the crock pot and as the juice slowly simmers over night it will reduce to a gorgeous thick sauce. I’ll can it in pints and enjoy the essence of tomatoes all winter.

I have allowed a few Tromboncino summer squash to grow to maturity so I can collect seed for next summers’ garden and for sharing with gardening friends. I will pick the squash just before frost because I want to be certain that the seeds are viable and that can only happen if the squash is mature.

I also spent part of this afternoon cleaning out spent plants and adding chopped leaves to two raised beds. So – – that means two out of eight beds are done and ready for their winter rest. Next I thinned two rows of carrots and saved the thinnings to munch. Each tiny carrot is one sweet bite and Oh! what a tiny taste treat!

As I left the garden late this afternoon the last thing I saw was a patch of Tall Verbena or Vervena bonariensis. I like to mix this beautiful hardy annual into my cabbage and broccoli beds. It’s lavender flowers reflect the blue that shimmers from cabbage and broccoli leaves. Tall verbena reseeds itself and every spring I simply transplant the babies to my cabbage patch. I love the movement of the tall wiry stems and the lavender/blue flowers that bloom ALL summer. Gorgeous!

Hey from the farm, Fran The Country Cousin

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