Myrtle: An Herb To Know

myrtle topiaries   I grew myrtle for several years, especially to use as a small tree or shrub in container fairy gardens.  They have tiny, very glossy green leaves.  I’ve been thinking of getting some started again, because I love them as topiaries, as shown in Jan Power’s photo above, mixed with some dainty ferns, succulents and blooming plants.  She grows them as topiaries so well!  (If you don’t know Jan’s beautiful artistic work or her books, visit her at Stonewell Herbs!  It’s a treat!)  I considered posting this in February, because it has a long history as an herb for love, and was held sacred to Venus.  German brides carry a sprig of myrtle in their wedding bouquets.  But then I decided if like me, you might want some topiaries for Valentines or a fairy garden in spring, you may need to act soon.

myrtle shrub  Here’s a photo of a much larger myrtle taken when we were in Tucson, where myrtle can actually stay outdoors and be used in the general landscape.  Unfortunately for us, it is hardy outdoors only to Zone 9, but it makes a lovely potted plant indoors during the winter months and then lives happily outdoors when there’s no danger of freeze.   myrtle berry  I was totally surprised that a mature myrtle produces these pretty berries!  It grows well in full sun with moist, but well-draining soil.  I generally propagate new plants from cuttings, which is fairly easy, but since they have berries Myrtus communis can also be grown from seeds.  Its name comes from the Greek word myron, or perfume.  The leaves have often been used in potpourris.

Myrtle has also been a symbol of authority, and in ancient days high government officials wore wreaths made of its boughs on their heads.  It was also a symbol of victory, woven with bay leaves into the crowns for winners of the Olympic games.  The leaves were also dried and ground into a dusting powder for infants, and the berries were used as a hair dye.

Only recently, I discovered myrtle is also a culinary herb.  I was reading “Delicious!” a novel about a woman with an extraordinary palate, able to discern distinct flavors even in minute amounts with multiple ingredients.  In tasting one dish, she announced it contained hyssop and myrtle.  Hyssop I understand because I cook with it often and use it in teas, but myrtle?  So, I had to do some research.  Turns out, myrtle has been used to flavor foods from the Stone Age!  Especially popular in some areas of Italy, it is often placed over the coals when roasting meat to impart a special flavor.  Whole pigs are cooked in pits lined with myrtle boughs, and chickens are stuffed with lemons and myrtle leaves before baking.  In some places it is used as a substitute for bay.  Obviously the potager needs a pot or two…or three!

So, once I get my plants underway, as I trim them into traditional topiary form, I certainly won’t let those trimmings go to waste.  I can’t wait to taste a myrtle roasted chicken!  And maybe I’ll try baking some myrtle biscuits or crackers!

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November in Review

November gave us a taste of the winter to come!

Impossibly true, but another month has passed! November was a mixed bag weather-wise, with record cold early in the month, two snowfalls and a few days in the upper 50’s tucked here and there. There were wicked winds with 60mph gusts late in the month, which pretty well eliminated the need for raking! Thus the gardening schedule was certainly eased due to shortening days, inclement weather, and the increasing number of bare beds. Add to that numerous traveling days for “family stuff” and compared to the hectic pace of summer, November seemed like a vacation of sorts. If I had to describe it briefly, “moving” seems like a good word. All the braids of shallots, onions and garlic were moved to the allium rack in the garage. All the baskets of winter squash, pumpkins, etc. were moved to the garage also.

Isn’t that blue sky gorgeous!

Before a forecasted hard freeze (successive nights in the mid-teens with little daytime warm-up) carrots, beets and leeks were dug, packed into buckets and moved to the garage. On a prettier day fall decor was packed up and moved to the basement or pole barn, and the snowmen were moved into place in the Front Garden and along the potager’s east fence, along with garlands and big red bows. The poly-tunnel parts were moved from the pole barn and reassembled over a bed of spinach. (You can see that in the top photo.) All the deck furniture was moved and stacked in the gazebo. The potager’s green chairs and tables were moved into the Lady Cottage. The succulents were moved into the basement. The tender potted plants were moved from the greenhouse into the basement. The fairy houses and furniture were packed together and moved in there as well.

Gusty winds blew the roof off, but hopefully the fairies are well.

The potager’s arches were moved to the north-south central path, so that crop rotation takes place. (If one looks very closely at the top photo, they are barely visible.) I like them better east-west, but it’s a good plan for crop health to move them annually, so I do. All of the dead annuals were clipped from the flower beds and moved to the compost heap, except for the Addition Garden and Cutting Garden, which I just haven’t done yet. The potager still needs lots of clean-up as well. Hopefully we’ll still have some nice days.

Over 14,000 black walnuts were picked up and moved out of the flower beds, sidewalk and lawn…and we’re still not done! That would portend a bitter winter….again!

The other task was bulb-planting. Only a small start was made in October, so a big push was made to get them in before Thanksgiving. There were 955 new bulbs, but I dug and moved a few dozen Dutch iris and daffodil bulbs that were too thick last spring into areas that needed more early color, so well over 1,000 were planted again this year. After the bulbs were in, a truck load of mulch was spread over the disturbed areas, and over the entire Front Garden and potager exterior border to make it look tidier and to help prevent erosion.

The second seed order (Pinetree) for the upcoming year was placed to take advantage of the Black Friday discount. Since I don’t need many seeds this time, there will probably be only one additional order later on.

The only preserving this month was pickling and canning 5 pints of beets. All of the pumpkins harvested and used for fall decor were baked and mashed. The 4 pints that were left after the pies were baked for Thanksgiving were tucked into the freezer.

For those interested in numbers, the November harvest was 38.5 lbs. (compared to 2 lbs. in 2017 and 13 in 2018) so I’m getting better at extending the harvest by planting late crops that can withstand the early frosts. Crops harvested this month were beets, radishes, leeks, carrots, parsley, kholrabi, broccoli, spinach, radicchio, kale, and leaf lettuce and various small bits of herbs. With this month’s addition, the potager has produced over 1,000 pounds of food! Not bad for an old lady and a smallish space!

So, there are still those two gardens to clean, and lots of trimming and tidying to do in the potager’s beds if the weather cooperates, but if it doesn’t, I’m not going to fret. There are Christmas cards to write, basketball games, parties and travels in December, so some things may just have to wait until spring, and that’s okay with me now. Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with blessings, and that you took time to notice each one!

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Lettuce give thanks!

Lettuce Victoria   As the seed catalogs arrive, and decisions need to be made for ordering, it’s wise to look back at the previous seasons to evaluate the varieties grown.   There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce available, and it’s always hard to limit the choices but retaining the best performers, and eliminating those that just didn’t “wow” us makes it a bit easier.  Thanks to our cool, generally wet spring and early summer, the 2019 potager produced some of the best lettuces I’ve ever grown!  Shown in the photo is “Victoria,” a gorgeous chartreuse butterhead type that really highlights why this type is called “butter head.”  The heavy 10-12″ across heads are extremely tender and tasty, and ready to harvest only 45 days after transplanting.  The large outer leaves need not be discarded because they are just too lovely, and are perfect for wraps.  The seed was from Territorial, and germinated very well.  The first planting was started indoors and moved into the potager beds as soon as danger of hard freeze was past.  Since they were hardened off carefully, a little frost wouldn’t hurt, but a hard freeze would set them back, or might actually do them in.  At the same time, I direct seeded a succession planting.  When those germinated and had four leaves, I used a pencil to carefully lift out extra seedlings and transplanted them to other beds.  Since the heads get so large, they do need room.  However, they are so gorgeous I tucked some into the flower borders (where the bunnies celebrated their good fortune, so I will keep them in the potager from now on!) and looked fabulous (briefly until devoured!)

 

 

Lettuce Intred  However, my husband prefers lettuce with crunch rather than tender.  He wants it crispy, so Romaine types are more to his liking.  This pretty red one is “Intred,” a burgundy-red form of our favorite “Little Gem” lettuce.  Since there is generally just the two of us, this smaller 8″ tall head is usually just the right amount.  The heads are compact, tightly packed, and slow to bolt, with excellent flavor.  As you can see in the picture, since they stay upright, seedlings can be tucked between rows of onions or garlic in a tight spacing because they will be harvested before their neighbors widen.  If space is limited, these are a great choice, and alternated with the green “Little Gem” make a stunning pattern.  Both are pretty edgers for spring beds, followed by pretty annuals once the lettuces are harvested.

Alkindus is a showy butterhead!

Planted at the same time as “Victoria,” this burgundy butterhead is ready soon afterwards, providing a continual harvest since it takes 65 days to mature. But, it’s worth the wait, and provides glorious color the entire time it’s growing. Reaching 12″ across and 8″ tall, it does require some space, but the sweet flavor and good texture is worthy.

Old-time heirloom Black Seeded Simpson is still a winner!

“Black Seeded Simpson” has been around for over 150 years, and it’s still a favorite, a must-have in my garden. This heirloom, open-pollinated variety is a loose-leaf type, meaning it doesn’t form a head. Loose-leafs also withstand frost/freeze better than most other types. I mix a pinch of seeds with a handful of potting soil and sprinkle it lightly on the snow in February, especially over tulip bulbs. The seeds germinate just as soon as the weather improves, long before the soil can be worked, even in my raised beds. When the tulips are done blooming, the rising stalks of Black Seeded Simpson camouflage the fading foliage. The lower leaves can be harvested as soon as they are large enough. I always let a few plants toward the back remain to set seed, partly because volunteer seedlings are always most welcome, and partly because the birds love them. They will eventually become a 3′ tall tower, but leaves retain that pretty bright chartreuse-green color and ruffly-edges, and can still be harvested until they turn bitter. Once the seeds have dropped, I pull the stalk, and am rewarded with a new set of seedlings as soon as the weather begins to cool in autumn. These can be harvested until a killing freeze occurs (or with a little protection, well into the winter!) Black Seeded Simpson is always the first and last lettuce harvested in my potager!

So, these are the four must-haves for the upcoming season. Instead of ordering additional lettuces, I’ve vowed to use up old seed from past years. Since there are already 11 different packets in my seed box, the potager will still have plenty of variety!

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A Year of Preserves

Gift boxes at the ready! They just need a pretty wrap and ribbon!

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I actually saw it on another blog last winter and thought, “What a great idea!” At our age, no one wants or needs “things” so consumable gifts are just the ticket, and if they are homemade from the potager, and from the heart it’s even better. Here’s the box that I made for this year’s Christmas exchanges:

A Year of Preserves!

January:   Apricot Wine Jelly  Everyone deserves a bit of wine for New Year’s, but one can enjoy this fruity, wine-based jelly all during the month of January!

February:   “Love Apple” Chutney   February is the month of valentines, romance, and love, so what could be more appropriate than an exotic chutney made with tomatoes, which long ago were better known as “love apples”?  Enjoy this month’s jar with roast beef, lamb, chicken or pork

March:    Mint  Jelly  Why just wear green, when you can eat it, too?  Sparkly Mint Jelly is lovely with lamb, but try it on top of a cracker spread with cream cheese as an appetizer.

April:    Gooseberry Jam   April is famous for April Fools, foolish pranks, and being silly as a goose, so Gooseberry Jam is a perfect way to celebrate the month.

May:    Memorial Jelly (Elder)  Memorial Day was earlier known as “Decoration Day,” when families would go to tidy the graves of ancestors and relatives, and decorate them with fresh flowers.  What better way to honor our elders, than with a beautiful, flavorful elderberry jelly?

June:  Lavender Jelly  June is the traditional month for weddings, and lavender is the traditional herb for weddings.  Enjoy this delicate jelly on tiny squares of toast for afternoon tea, stir a bit into a cup of hot tea, use as a glaze for cooked carrots, or use the recipe enclosed.

July:  Blackberry  Jam  is made at the beginning of this month, with the berries picked from the wild bushes along our woods.  A favorite since colonial times and still among our favorites!

August:  Peach Jam   Nothing says “August” more than peaches, dripping with fresh fruit flavor that has been captured in this rich, gorgeous jam!  Top cheesecake, ice cream, or pound cake, if you don’t just want it on toast!

September :   Lemon Verbena  Jelly   The Lemon Verbena shrub drops its leaves when frost threatens, so traditionally the leaves were harvested to make this lovely jelly.  Use it in the usual ways, especially in thumbprint cookies, or stir a teaspoonful into a cup of hot tea!

October:  Garlic Jelly  Not for breakfast, but this jelly is great served with roasted meats, brushed on at the end of grilling beef, pork or chicken; or used to glaze tiny meatballs or patties. 

November:   Black Raspberry Jelly  brings back the memories and taste of mid-summer, when hot afternoons were spent in the cooler woods picking these “black caps,” as they were called in colonial times.  Dark, mysterious, and delicious!

December:    Rosemary-Orange Marmalade   Oranges were a traditional gift at Christmas, and their scent is part of holiday traditions.  Enjoy this tasty marmalade on toast, or with roast pork or chicken, or to brighten left-over ham or turkey sandwiches.

Each box contains 12 different jellies or jams.

The content is printed on nice paper and included in the gift. Sometimes the June jar is “Strawberry Jam” if I feel the recipient might prefer it to lavender, or “Pear Jam” in September rather than lemon verbena. That’s the lovely thing about computers, change can be done in an instant!

Bonus Recipe! I developed this recipe for my first book, which included appetizers and herbal cocktails woven into the mystery/romance! It’s a party favorite now.

Lavender Glazed Meatballs

Mix together:  1 lb. mild sausage, 2 T. chopped parsley; ¼ c. finely chopped shallots, ½ c. small curd cottage cheese; 1 egg; 1 ½ tsp. ground lavender flowers, 2 c. bread crumbs.  Mix by hand until well blended.  Shape into small 1” balls.  Broil, turning often until brown on all sides.  Remove from oven and place in a shallow baking dish.  Heat 1 c. lavender jelly in microwave until softened.  Pour over meatballs, turning until they are covered.  Serve immediately. 

I’m already starting to think about next year’s boxes…maybe pickled products and green tomato mincemeat? It’s good to decide early so the appropriate seeds can be ordered. Lots of good “Black Friday” deals coming up on the seed websites next week, so I’m working on seed orders now!

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First Seed Order for 2020

As usual, the first seed order for 2020 was placed with Geo Seeds in October, to earn a nice 20% discount. Geo is a wholesale company that has a huge offering of mainly ornamental plants, although they do have a (very) few vegetables and herbs. The factor I love is that most of their plants are available in separate, selected colors rather than a mix. So, I can order just orange or apricot or white and get just what I want. For someone picky (like me!) it’s wonderful to just pay for the colors I need and not waste valuable indoor space growing something, only to find out when it finally blooms that it’s red or pink (HORRORS!)

The order contained all the usual, necessary annuals: “Hot Pak Orange” marigolds for the potager’s edging; “Durango”marigolds for the borders; “Liberty Bronze” and “Montego Orange” snaps; “Penny Orange’ and “Peach Jump Up” for edges and spring containers; zinnias “Profusion Double Deep Salmon,” “Profusion Apricot,” and the taller “Queen Lime Orange.” Last year I neglected to order celosia “Fresh Look Orange” and really missed those long-lasting orange plumes in the borders, so they topped this year’s list. You’ll find photos of all of those in prior years’ posts about early seed orders. However, there are a few new candidates, beginning with Coleus “Wizard Golden.”

This should brighten up the borders and containers!

I love chartreuse and gold foliage mixed into the borders, because it adds a lot of interest even when the plants aren’t in bloom. Last year’s “Golden Moss” feverfew and talinum “Kingwood Gold” worked very well, but I need more! Coleus is easy to grow from seed, especially if given bottom heat, but it has to be started really early to have plants of any size, and can’t be planted out until ALL danger of frost is long past. The plan is to tuck lots of these “Golden” coleus into groupings as space from the tulips becomes available.

Ladies Mantle “Irish Silk”

Alchemilla “Irish Silk” also made the list for its green-gold foliage that is always tidy and appealing, having slightly pleated leaves with serrated edges that hold dew drops. The chartreuse flowers will also brighten up the borders. As perennials, they won’t have much size or presence this year, but recognizing that I’m getting older and may not always be able to plant 4,000 annuals each spring, a few more carefully chosen perennials are being added. Three more perennials will add more touches of “blue” to the flower gardens. The first is Linum “Sapphire.”

Soft blue, airy flowers cover this perennial flax over a long period.

Linum, better known as perennial flax, is a low-growing plant with delicate foliage and pretty nickel-sized blooms of sky blue. It loves sun, but will grow in light shade. It grew for years in the Cottage Garden at the herb farm, and I miss it, so it’s being reintroduced into the gardens to compliment all the orange and yellow annuals. Also adding blue is Salvia pratensis “Sky Dance.”

The bees and butterflies will be happy for this addition.

I love perennial salvias for their durability and long-bloom period, and the hummingbirds enjoy them, too. As long as they have good drainage and lots of sunshine, they do well without much care. Their foliage remains in a low-growing rosette, but their sky-blue flower-filled bloom stalks rise 20″. If I remember to cut them back, the plants will rebloom (not generally in their first year, but in subsequent years) generously. Some gardeners are growing them as a cut flower since they are so showy. The last perennial being added is a catmint, Nepeta “Panther Dark Blue.”

All the catmints have fragrant, tidy foliage.

I’ve grown and enjoyed lots of catmints in past years, but I’ve never grown this one. Geo says it will flower in its first year, if started early, so I’ll be seeding it with the onions! This is another tubular flower for the bees and butterflies, and also reaches 20″ when in bloom. It can also be grown in containers, where it stays a bit more compact at about 12-14″. I’m not adding many new annuals, but I’ve decided to try Pansy “Ultima Beacon Bronze.”

I couldn’t resist this pretty face!

A few pansies are always welcome for the big pot by the front door in very early spring, and extras find their way into the deck planters. These look perfect for my color palette. I used to seed the pansies in November, but now that we do more traveling, they’ll have to wait till after the first of the year.

Annual phlox provide patches of interesting color.

I grew the lovely annual “Phlox of Sheep” which had apricot, very pale yellow, or beige blooms in clusters atop compact plants. Apparently it is no longer available, so I’m trying “Coral Reef” and hoping there’s not too much pink or red in the mix. I love that Victorian look of annual phlox, even though it doesn’t bloom over a long period like many other annuals.

Cosmos is always a winner!

Cosmos “Apricot Lemonade” is described as soft apricot with a pale lavender base and reverse, fading to soft yellow at maturity. Cosmos are loved by butterflies and are usually a good cut flower as well. This one grows to 27″ and flowers July-October. The plan is to grow the “Coral Reef” phlox below the cosmos to help hide its bare legs. From the photos, it appear they will look well together.

The final selection is actually an herb, Melissa “Mandarin Orange.” I’m a tea-lover and any plant that is good for tea gets at least a trial. I’m assuming that this is a selection of lemon balm, has those pretty scalloped leaves and is just as easy to grow; a perennial that will thrive in sun or light shade. So, that was my first seed order, which has already arrived! Let the 2020 season plans begin!

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Planting the bulbs

If you look in all the boxes, you’d find 1,000 bulbs!

I’ve been planting this year’s bulb order whenever the weather is decent, the ground not too soggy, and I have a bit of time. Yes, I’m running later than usual, but generally as long as they are in the ground before Thanksgiving they are fine. This year, I placed orders with three companies. Van Engelen (the wholesale arm of John Scheepers) got the bulk of my order: tulips, crocus “Cream Beauty,” and winter aconites. The VE tulips were ones I’ve counted on before: Foxy Foxtrot, a double early; the tiny species “Bright Gem” for the potager main path borders; and the lovely, late “Dordogne.” You can see photos of those in previous years’ posts.

King’s Orange, 22″ replaces my favorite “Annie Schilder.”

New this year was “King’s Orange,” a Triumph tulip that will hopefully be a beautiful as the “Annie Schilder,” which for some unknown reason was not available this year (sigh! I loved Annie!) Brent & Becky’s are famous for their daffodil breeding, so all the new, super-fancy daffys came from their collection: “Color Run,” “Blushing Lady,” “Pacific Rim,” “Can Can Girl,” “Bella Vista,” “Sailorman,” “Slice of Life,” “Sweet Ocean,” and “Soveriegn,” which they say will be 6″ across! I also ordered two daffys that I planted last year, loved, and wanted more: “Rip Van Winkle” and “Mary Gay Lirette.” All of these went into the Front Island. B&B’s pack their bulbs in newspaper, which somehow appeals to me, and I find myself reading paragraphs here and there as I unpack the bulbs. Does anyone else out there do that, or am I the only crazy one? If you love daffodils, go look at their website! It’s a lovely, family-owned and operated company.

There were some funny items from their Virginia-based newspaper, and land prices were unbelievable! Think I’ll just stay in Indiana…..

I’ve never ordered from ColorBlends before, but I’ve heard good reports, and this year their catalog inspired me to try a few new things, plus they had “Temple’s Favorite” tulip which was a favorite of mine last year from a “late collection,” but not offered separately by Van Engelen this year. I’m going heavier on the late-blooming tulips again this year, because it worked so well last year. They are generally tall, fitting nicely into the back of the borders as the emerging perennials fill out. And, they don’t get destroyed by nasty weather as the early tulips often are. ColorBlends’ forte is combinations. “Threedom” was the first collection one I selected, an early soft orange, a mid-season peony type, and a late lily-flowered. I wish they’d actually tell which varieties are in the mix, but they don’t. I’m guessing it’s maybe “Apricot Emperor,” “Cretaceous,” and “Ballerina.”

ColorBlends’ “Threedom”

The second collection is called “Tang Dynasty.” I’d decided last year, a bit of white would be nice. Plus, the company says many of them will return year after year. Not many tulips have done that for me other than the species tulips, so I’ll be interested to see if that happens. It may turn out that they are too early for our iffy weather, or have those huge leaves that I find annoyingly slow to disappear.

Tang Dynasty is an fairly early-blooming blend.

The original plan was to use all of them (100) inside the potager, in the interior borders. However, I actually ran out of tulips after doing only the Front Garden, part of the potager’s exterior borders, and tiny PART of the Deck Garden!!!! So, the “Tang Dynasty” tulips were divided between the top part of the Deck Garden, the north end of the potager exterior border, and just the northeast section of the potager’s interior border. The bottom half of the Deck Garden, the Addition Garden, the North & South Islands, the Cutting Garden, and the rest of the potager’s interior borders will have no tulips next year. 😦

The winter aconites are going under my beloved elder, where they will get early sun in late winter and be easily seen. Later, they will have the shade they prefer as the elder leafs out. All the bulbs were planted with a generous handful of time-release Osmocote and another handful of bone meal. It was interesting to see that the bone meal was processed using solar power! I have a bag of bone meal left…maybe I should buy more bulbs?

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October in Review

Here’s the potager on October 1, before I went to London, before frost.

October always brings the biggest, fastest transition in the potager. Early in the month, the beds are still lush and full. Production is still high and the preserving of the produce fills more time than the gardening. The only planting being done in October is garlic and spinach.

The spinach planted for overwintering is looking good.

All the remaining spinach seed was planted earlier, because it’s unlikely to germinate next year. Some of it germinated well, like the bed shown above, and some of it didn’t do well at all so I’m glad I planted it all the remaining packets.

The garlic is emerging. Some of it is 2″ tall.

The garlic is emerging in the first planted beds. Still waiting for those varieties planted a week later. This year’s crop is “Mary Jane,” “Deerfield Purple,” “Killarney Red,” “Khobor,” and “Romanian Red.” “Rosewood” was dropped since it was the least productive the past two years. Frost brings about a sudden and dramatic change. No photos were taken of the blackened plants, but here’s how the potager looks after the clean-up.

Lots of empty bed space now!

There are still radishes, lettuces, broccoli, spinach, radicchio, carrots, bunching onions, beets, leeks, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, rutabagas and mustard left as well as hardy herbs. The strawberry beds (4 now) look full and happy after the recent rains, as do the roses. Now planting bulbs is the priority, and there are still a few dahlias to dig. Speaking of dahlias, there was not a single flower produced on ANY of the Swan Island dahlias. What a waste of space! I’ll dig the few that remain and store them over the winter. Maybe they will produce blooms next year, but I’m not giving them prime space. Meanwhile, the Brent & Becky dahlias have all been dug and stored away. They were delightfully productive!

For those interested in numbers, the potager produced 154 pounds, compared to 103.5 in 2017 and only 68 last year. The big difference is the late tomatoes, the delicious “Country Taste” which produced baskets and baskets (there is still one basket of beautiful green tomatoes in the garage) and the small “Harvest Princess” pumpkins which greatly outperformed “Baby Bear” planted last year.

Preserved this month: frozen broccoli, peas, pepper strips, green beans and diced peppers. Canned: Tomato juice, pizza sauce, piccalilli, green tomato mincemeat. Total: 61 containers. I could have done more, but I’m totally out of jars and freezer space! We’ll have to eat some things before I can pickle the beets.

I’m very happy with October’s numbers, especially considering that I took two trips this month. Even though we’ve had snow and freezing rain that tells us winter is on the way, there will still be enough nice days to remove the frosted marigold border along the potager’s central paths and plant the little “Bright Gem” species tulips. Still need to microwave-dry the parsley, freeze some chives, and dig the carrots for storage, so there is a fairly lengthy job-list for November. That’s fine with me. I like being busy!

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