I absolutely love this painting of Autumn Man; he’s wearing a pumpkin on his head, his hair is made of grapes, he has a rosy apple cheek and he is wearing the slats from a barrel. Autumn man reminds me that instead of being sad about the end of summer, I need to focus on all the fresh fruits and vegetables available right now. Just this morning I picked up 80 pounds of organic apples from a grower who has decided to sell directly to the public; the apples are crisp and fresh and I am looking forward to eating many of them raw and baking some into apple crisps and other treats.
The apples are also distracting me from the garden. I don’t really feel like going out and working in the yard when it is this rainy and wet. However, some of the veggies are still waiting there to be picked (beans, kale, leeks, carrots) and others have probably started to rot (tomatoes). I am glad that I finished the raspberries last weekend, and all the new canes are tied up and supported. I might cut the tops off some of the tallest ones as they’ve grown over 1o feet tall. Although the canes are bent over and I can pick the berries from the ends, I am worried about the longer canes getting damaged from snow loading in the winter.
This is the time of year that I start to do a critical evaluation of what worked and what didn’t and how this is going to change things for next year. First, flowers. This year I planted a lot of flowers from seed including sweet peas, calendula, nasturtiums, and cosmos. I am going to plant sweetpeas again next year as they looked great and smelled gorgeous. Next year I am going to grow them against a trellis or another support; this year they all grew sideways and climbed up other plants and it was a mess.
The calendula was kind of “Meh”. They grew fine and produced a lot of flowers – many of which we ate in salads – but I was underwhelmed. Maybe calendulas are just kind of boring and I am expecting too much. The cosmos also grew well and are still blooming, but next year I am going to select a shorter variety; this year I intentionally picked the tallest ones and some of the ones in front of my house are over six feet tall.
The only flower that I am feeling ambivalent about are poppies. I am absolutely passionate about red poppies and am so excited about them when they are in bloom. But when they die, off they fall over and take everything else with them.
Next post, will be about what veggies worked and which ones didn’t.
Thanks you Kale Grower. You have inspired me to clean up that mess in my backyard. Wish me luck. Guess the zucchinis are done and the cucumbers are not going to fill in. 😦
Have you tried slicing apples and drying the slices in a dehydrator? They make great snacks in December, January and February, satisfy the “chip crunch” need I have and pair well with a bit of cheese. And they keep for 6 to 8 months in the fridge! I also make apple sauce which is so good right out of the jar. I add nothing, just soften, run them through my Victorio juicer and cook them down until they are thick and creamy. Love apples and love that you are enjoying the seasonal fruits and veg available in your own back yard. That’s what gardening is really about.
Dehydrated apples are one of my favorite (non fattening) things! I didn’t think about making them myself, but I definitely need to look into getting a dehydrator. One of my gardening friends made me a “snack pack” of dehydrated bananas (and what was the other thing???) that were delicious. Thanks for the inspiration Pat! Chrystal
I have an Excalibur – 9 tray. A bit pricey but I love it. Drying figs right now…use it to dry Borghese tomatoes and herbs, too. Considering trying to make my own potato chips using the Mandoline and the dehydrator. So many uses…so little time!