Saturday, October 9, 2010

End of the Garden

The end of the garden is always a poignant time of year. So much to do to get everything harvested, preserved and the garden cleaned up. The sun isn't as bright, the wind is cool and crisp and the leaves are dropping. Oddly, it is my favorite time of the year. I love the muted colors and diffused light and there's something about the preparation for the winter that makes these last warm, sunny days so special. So some final notes...

These are examples of the five tomatoes I grew this year, from left to right - San Marzano, German Queen, Green Zebra and in front the yellow pear and a red grape tomato that reseeded from last year. I belong to a CSA and always have plenty of fresh, organic tomatoes during the season but I like growing some of the heirlooms.

I was disappointed in the San Marzano. It was my first year growing it and they were slow, not very prolific and I didn't particularly like the taste. The German Queen on the other hand was absolutely delicious and while there were only half a dozen or so of them, they were large and tasty. The Green Zebra tomatoes just didn't stop coming, there were so many of them that I almost got tired of them. They are juicy and delicious, but enough is enough! My favorite of the season though were the yellow pears. I would just eat them right off the plant while weeding they were so delicious.

As I pulled out the plants and took the remaining tomatoes off, they all got cut up and put on a tray to slow dry in the oven. With a little olive oil, basil and garlic, this made a wonderful pasta topping for dinner that night.

The other thing that got pulled out of the garden as the nights are getting cold was all the basil. The red basil was used to make red basil vinegar as seen above. I love the color of this vinegar when it is done, and the flavor is fantastic.

Some of the rest of the basil was put in ice cube trays to freeze. I love having these cubes on hand throughout the winter for soups, sauces, or whatever I'm making.

All the tender perennials have been potted up for their winter stay inside. The scented geraniums have been cut back and potted, the lemon verbena leaves are in the dehydrator and the fruit sages are enjoying their last days out in the sun.

There's still time for more harvesting and plenty of garden cleanup left to do, but I better hurry!

Turkey Parade

Eating my oatmeal this morning reading the Idiot Gardener's near-American experience (and trying not to spit out my coffee since I was laughing so hard), what do I see outside but a wild turkey walking past into the garden. I rushed to grab the camera and yelled to DH, who was totally enthralled by some History Channel show and oblivious to what was going on outside.

There were three turkeys who decided to visit. They came up the stairs, strolled down the middle of the garden and just checked everything out. The garden is enclosed, so they just stood around at the end seemingly trying to decide where to go next.

So a little stroll right through the beds, couldn't they have stayed on the paths? The beds are half-cleaned out for the season, but the guy on the left above took a nice walk through the mint.

They were very curious. This guy came right up to the window to look in, maybe he wanted to see what DH was watching on History?

They hung out on the patio a bit and then headed back down the stairs, one after the other. Guess there wasn't anything too interesting here.

DH, who had finally gotten off the couch to see the visitors, went to the back window to see where they were headed and yelled to come look. Well the 3 must have been a scouting party, because there was a group of at least 12-15 turkeys congregated by the shed.

The one on top of the wood to the left seemed to be the crossing guard, and they all got in line and slowly walked into the woods. We waved goodbye, having enjoyed their visit.

While wild turkeys are pretty common around here, such a large group was a treat. Maybe I should have grabbed one to save for Thanksgiving?