There is an old adage that says “Whatever the weather on the first day of September, the rest of the month you’ll see!” Well, not so for 2019’s September. While it rained on the first day, the rest of the month was painfully dry, with higher temperatures than normal. Apparently it was the driest September in 14 years. But overall, it was a beautiful month, with clear days and sunny skies, and lots of good gardening! The melons, tomatoes, peppers and beans really loved the heat and showed it with bountiful crops, as long as they were watered well. The newly planted shrubs in the Front Garden needed weekly watering, too.
After the birds had eaten the final berries, the elder got a good pruning, taking out all the dead wood, pruning drooping branches to do a bit of shaping, and after this photo, the volunteer mulberry was removed. I couldn’t use all the bloom and berries the elder provided, plus it was just getting too large, and totally shading the orris root planted below. Now I can add some winter aconite bulbs under its shelter next month.
Despite frequent waterings, you can see the potager looks a bit dry. Combine that with the normal change from summer green to autumn olive drab, and the feeling that the season is winding down is definite, despite young crops of peas, beans, beets and carrots. There were new plantings of spinach made, using up all this year’s seed because it rarely germinates the second year. The biggest job this month, besides harvesting & preserving, was putting 3 truckloads of mulch on the potager’s paths, but it was worth the effort. Not only does it look much better, but keeping the landscape cloth covered from the sun’s rays will lengthen its useful “life.”
September was definitely a bountiful month, with 317.5 pounds recorded. Of course that doesn’t count the “grazing” done by the gardener or guests, or occasional items grabbed on the go with a “I’ll write that down later” promise that is forgotten. Melons and tomatoes were the biggest items, of course.
There were over 100 jars/containers added to the pantry shelves or freezer, and we ate REALLY well all month, plus provided food for the annual neighborhood party on our deck, and the Garden Party.
I’ve kept my vow of not canning any beans this year, since there are dozens of jars from 2017 and 2018 still on the shelves, so we’ve eaten lots and given even more away. As the month ended, there were “Provider, Velour French Filet, and Dragon Tongue” being picked. Happily, the lettuces seeded early in September are coming on nicely, because salads lately have mainly been Caprese or slaws of various types.
Late in the month I attended the International Herb Conference at beautiful Burr Oak Lodge in southern Ohio. Lovely scenery in a serene setting, great networking and informational sessions, plus good food made it a wonderful getaway. I also attended the dedication of the new building for the Center for Medicinal Plant Conservation at the United Plant Savers Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio and went on an inspirational herb walk. Back home for the final four days of the month, the 7th driest in history and 8th warmest at that point, but I think we broke records as the heat and dryness increased until we got a small rain on the 29th. More harvesting, planting more spinach, freezing peas and broccoli, making ketchup, and watching college football replay in the wee hours. Yes, September was a very good month.
It all looks so good.
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Lovely September here in Central Washington, no forest fire smoke (or far less of it than the past two years), and rainy days here and there. We stocked our freezer with blueberries and peaches for winter baking. Next on the list are pears, just now ripening in our neighborhood orchard. Then I’ll join you in cooking up pear preserves (chunky jam) for French toast mornings.
I had some of mine this morning, and it was delicious, full of rich pear flavor. Now I wish I’d made more!
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