It’s another one of those transitional times of year, as we go from warm weather to cool, long days to shorter ones, and gardening chores slowly start winding down for the year. Last week I cut a few more herbs to dry for tea. Even though they aren’t hardy here, I planted one lemon verbena in the ground this spring, and it has gotten pretty large by now. I cut quite a few of the stems the other day, and stripped the leaves off before drying in the dehydrator. The dried leaves will be nice for teas this winter.
You can see some of the lemon verbena in the above photo. I wound up with enough dried leaves to fill two loosely packed quart jars. While I was at it I cut some mint to dry for tea. I want to harvest what I can of the mints before freezing weather comes. I also have a couple of containers of mint that I started in the greenhouse, plus containers of lemongrass and lemon verbena that I will bring indoors for the winter. It is nice to have a few fresh leaves if possible to add to the dried ones for tea. The mints in the greenhouse will eventually freeze down, but they will also leaf out early next spring and give me a jump on the season before the ones outside get going.
I’m also still cutting calendula flowers for drying. The calendula plants seem to have perked up a bit with cooler weather, but they have still bloomed pretty much nonstop all summer and fall. These are calendulas selected for their high resin content, and we use them mainly for infusions. They do attract a few insects too, and there are always a few bees and other pollinators on them when I do the cutting.
The fall broccoli is coming on now. That is Diplomat in the above photo. It had a little browning on one of the heads, which I am thinking was caused by the fact it rained ten straight days in a row as it was heading up. It didn’t hurt the broccoli any, and I have surely been enjoying eating fresh broccoli lately. Arcadia should be the last broccoli to head up here. I am not sure if growing a late variety like it makes sense here in the fall, but we will see.
Last year Striata d’Italia was the last squash to produce for me, and it looks like that will be true for 2014 as well. It’s hanging out with some Hakurei and Oasis turnips in the above photo. The turnips have some slug damage, since I neglected to spread Sluggo in that bed. I usually peel them anyway, so I really don’t mind as long as they leave most of the turnip for me!
I harvested a few of the kohlrabi last week. That’s Kolibri in the above photo. I left the rest to size up a bit more. I am looking forward to making some kohlrabi kraut later on. I am almost out of the cabbage and kohlrabi kraut I made from the spring veggies, and I want to make some more to eat on this winter. You can see a bit of slug damage on the kohlrabi too, even though I did spread Sluggo in that bed. Slugs are really a problem here in the garden.
I was hungry for kale last week so I harvested some of the Red Ursa leaves. This is an o/p variety from Wild Garden that I really like. It’s a cross between Red Russian and Siberian kales, with semi curly leaves that have a reddish tinge like its Red Russian parent. It has a great flavor, and I used it to make a kale and cannellini bean dish we had for lunch one day.
The beans I used were some dried Runner Cannellini beans I got from SSE. This variety is much larger than your usual cannellini bean, and cooked up into huge beans that were smooth in texture and quite tasty. I would love to try growing them but I am not sure they would be worth the effort or the space, since dried beans are always a challenge with our hot and humid weather.
The next big gardening event I see coming up is planting garlic. It’s going in where the sweet potatoes grew, so I cleared out the vines left after I dug the sweet potatoes a couple of weeks ago. The vines all went on the compost pile, where hopefully by next spring they will have turned into compost to go back on the garden. In the meantime, I still have two Okinawa plants growing in that bed, and they will have to come out next week. They will have had 140 days to grow, and with cooler weather I doubt they will be doing much more underground growing anyway. Last year I planted the garlic on 10/29, and I will plan on getting it in somewhere around that date this year.
It’s also time to start the annual migration of houseplants. A few of them have been spending the summer out on the front porch, and it is time to bring them back in. Some of them get a little bath in the shower first, to clean them up a bit and to wash off any bugs that might be hiding out on the leaves.
That’s a look at what’s happening here at HA. To see what others are harvesting and doing in the garden, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.