Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Summer Harvest


I took the tomatoes and squash out on Wednesday the 22nd, the last day of summer. So this qualifies as my last summer harvest.

I hope the green tomatoes don't ripen too fast.

All the green peppers went into the freezer halved and then into a bag after that. I ate the very young zucchini with the small eggplant. The other eggplant was devoured two days later.


See other harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Garden Helpers


I am so glad I planted marigolds around the tomatoes this year. They worked to keep away the tomato hornworm. Though I did see signs of that pest on my eggplants once I think the birds must have eaten them. The marigolds I planted were very tall and fell over into the pathways. I think I will try a shorter variety next year and hope they work as well.

The other helper is my compost bin. I filled it even fuller than this photo shows when I was done yesterday. In fact the zucchini plants had to be dragged to my perennial garden bin and stuffed in there. I like that I'm making compost that will go right back into my beds.

I found this garden helper as I removed the tomato plants. He was eating something when I first spied him. He was content to sit and watch me remove all the plants around him then hopped off.

This garden pest is being joined by other stink bugs, but the invasive species variety. They are all over my screened porch both inside and out. I think I saw evidence of their damage on some of my tomatoes and peppers. Unfortunately they don't seem bothered by the marigolds and the toad doesn't seem to eat them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Pearl of China"

This new book caught my eye at the library last week. It's a fictional account of Pearl S. Buck's life told from the perspective of a Chinese friend. The friend is fictional but the essential story about Pearl Buck is fairly accurate. It's also a sweeping overview of the changes that China experienced in the 20th century.

Look for "Pearl of China" by Anchee Min.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September Harvest Monday



The theme of harvests this week was tomatoes, beans, zucchini, eggplant and peppers. The tomatoes are needing to be sauced and the beans are needing to be eaten. The rest have long since been used for meals.

It's time for the eggplant to be pulled from the garden and composted. I think the tomatoes will have the same fate. There are a few small zucchinis out there which may be added to dinner this week before those plants are compost.

For the fall I have beets and snowpeas growing, but the spinach is a no show! I'll have to plant garlic soon, too.

See other harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"The Hemmingses of Monticello" by Annette Gordon Reed

Sometimes you just have to skim read and that's what I did with this book. I started out with good intent to read it all fully, but my interest was in Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson's slave "wife". The author's interest was in the entire family that Sally was from and that was interesting up to a point. There were innumerable tangents that I just had to skip over when I realized that the length of the book was entirely due to all the divergence and historical contexts. Don't get me wrong, I think the author did an amazing job of research considering the little information that is available on this family. She was a masterful detective in fact surmising from the lack of information what must have been the situation and circumstances affecting Sally and other Hemmingses.

If you are a student of history and particularly interested in the people that played a part in Thomas Jefferson's life, I recommend this book to you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September's Bloom Day


It is definitely autumn. Plants are preparing for their time of dormancy. The majority of my plants have passed their bloom times, so it was with some trepidation that I entered the garden to find photo ops for today's Bloom Day. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. There is still color out there. And those plants would be affronted if I said there was nothing to photograph because they're doing their darndest to be pleasing to the eye.


My volunteer marigold is still going strong!


The deer left a few blossoms on the new aster I planted in August.


The black-eyed susan and the false dragon are a nice combination.


The Autumn Joy sedum is in this location for the first time this year. It was a seedling from one of the plants in the front bed.


The striped phlox continues to bloom inside its protective cage (ground hog's favorite plant).


The savory is in full bloom.


One of the three mounds of cheddar pinks has decided to flower one last time.


Don't the grasses count as blooms?


The expanse of Autumn Joy in the front bed is muted by the morning sun. I'm really pleased by this bed: liriope, sedum, lavender, Russian sage (not visible), butterfly bushes and hydrangeas.

One of the few remaining butterfly bush flowers.


The hibiscus in its glory.



And the promise for more blooms in days to come.




A special thank you to my friend, Sherrilynn at Bluebird Nursery for sending me the striped phlox and the hibiscus as trial plants this year. I hope they survive the winter and give me blooms in the future.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Monday

Beans picked on Friday, in the sauce pan ready to steam. Again just enough for two servings.

Gleanings from Wednesday some of which was used in a stir fry.

Tuesday's harvests. We enjoyed the eggplant this year.

All the basil from the garden which I froze. See earlier post.

See what other gardeners are doing at Daphne's Dandelions

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Freezing Basil

I pulled up all the basil in the vegetable garden and picked the good leaves off of the plants. I have two plants left in the herb garden which I will leave until the frost gets to them.

I washed the leaves in the prep sink then ...

... put them in the salad spinner.

I coarsely chopped them in the food processor adding some olive oil to coat the leaves and ...
then put it all into one ziploc bag which I flattened as much as I could. This went into the freezer flat.
When I need some basil this winter I'll open the bag and break off a bit to use. How easy!

Duped!

Last year I had several volunteer sunflowers seeded by the birds or squirrels in my yard. So this year when I saw these plants sprouting I thought more sunflowers. I even transplanted two of them to the vegetable garden because I thought they'd look nice against the fence. (Big mistake!) The one below appeared next to the house where sunflower seeds had been scattered during our big snow storms.

Below are sunflowers from my daughter's garden. There is some resemblance, don't you think?


I realized something was amiss when no flowers appeared, but I thought maybe it's a later variety. After visiting my daughter in NH and seeing hers in bloom I became even more suspicious of these plants. The clincher was when I spotted some along the roadside this past weekend. Trash trees! Oh, no! What had I done?

Today they all came out from their various locations. The roots were mighty, but I pulled them out with the help of a shovel.


The stems were hollow like bamboo.


Does anyone know what these trash trees are?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvest News for last week

Enough string beans (finally) for the 2 of us for dinner.

Picked these two on Friday to take with us for the weekend at cousin's home in mountains of Virginia. I sliced them, slathered them with mayonnaise, dipped into parmesan cheese and broiled them for 3 minutes per side. Yummy!

See what other gardeners are doing at Daphne's Dandelions.
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