Autumn Jubilee (#AutumnJubilee2020) in the garden brings a few chores, more to ensure a beautiful spring than to spruce up for fall. It is a great time to dig up and divide crowded plants, put some new bulbs in the ground, and clean up the last of the summer vegetable plants. One warm day, I got out the tools and headed for the planter in the front. It was crowded with irises that didn’t bloom this year. I think the rhizomes were covered up too much with leaves. They needed to be dug up and divided anyway. In September, I showed the other iris bed that I dug up and gave all those to my neighbor. Now, these iris plants will be moved to that first bed, clearing the brick planter for new plants next year.
I cleaned out some of the leaves, and lifted the first iris plant. What came up was a bunch of them all hooked together. The rhizomes had spread and multiplied.
There were also daffodils in that bed, and I dug them up too.
There were a lot more than I remember planting, some of them have grown as well. I was only able to find two hyacinth bulbs. I know I planted at least six, so either they rotted away, or the squirrels dug them up.
I moved all the plants over to the other bed, and began separating and dividing the irises. The crocus and daffodil bulbs were put in the tray to keep them together.
This clump became 12 individual plants. Divide them where they break naturally, or where there is a thin section connecting two thicker sections. Each bit that has leaves can become a new plant, and even thick rhizomes without leaves will also grow into new plants. Bury the roots, but leave the rhizome above ground, they need air and light to produce flowers. From research in previous years, I found that the #1 reason irises don’t flower is that the rhizomes are covered up.
I spaced them around the bed, and filled in the areas between with the daffodils and crocus bulbs. This will give me a succession of blooms in that bed, starting with the crocuses first, then the daffodils and then the irises.
When it was all done, I had a full bed three times the size of the one they came out of, and I still had more crocus and daffodil bulbs left over. I put those in a pot and will transplant them later.
If you would like lovely spring color, now is the time to get those spring bloomer bulbs planted. Daffodils, crocus and hyacinths all do well here, that is if the critters don’t dig them up for dinner first. You can plant spring blooming bulbs whenever the weather cools down all the way up to the first frost of winter. In general, plant the bulb twice as deep as the bulb is tall. So a one-inch bulb should be planted 2-inches deep.
Reader Diane sent me this note last month that made me laugh – her husband says, “Instead of having friends over for turkey, we have turkeys over for friends”. That is sure true around here too! This small flock of 5 females came running when they saw me step onto the veranda.
I give them small bites of whole grain bread. Two of them are not shy, the other three are more reserved and we have to get the tidbit close to them. One turkey seems to be the dominant one, going after all the bites thrown, so we have to get her to one side so the others get their share.
The deer were back early one morning, three in this group. They are just so beautiful. They were standing rock still, and I was able to get a nice photo of them.
A few minutes later, they went back to grazing in the meadow.
Our Autumn season is underway, with the valley slowly turning colors. The cold snap last weekend helped move things along.
Meanwhile, I know you want to see Oliver. He got a squirrel size peanut butter sandwich on a chilly day. Little beggar.
Patchy color is seen in the trees around our home, and I think we are a week or so away from it all being in glorious color. I hope the leaves stay on the trees for a bit longer while they change to their fall colors.
On the veranda, it was the end of the season for the tomatoes. Growing them in pots this year was a huge success, as they got more sun in this position than they did in the flower bed. Next year, they will go in the brick planter where I just cleaned the iris plants out. The tomatoes were just about gone, so I picked the last green ones remaining and put them on the counter. Then I made a fine mess pulling up the plants, getting dirt everywhere. I cleaned all that up, and it was time for an adult beverage.
Over the next few days, one of the Cherokee purples was about ready to eat, plus several of the cherry tomatoes were nicely red. It will be a few more days for the light orange ones to deepen to a rich red, and another week or two for the rest to ripen. Not ideal, as staying on the vine in the sun is best, but better than throwing them away.
Those cherry tomatoes from my garden would do nicely in the cover recipe for today’s giveaway! Returning sponsor Milk Street has a new cookbook called Cookish just published on October 15th. From the publisher “In Cookish, Christopher Kimball and his team of cooks and editors harness the most powerful cooking principles from around the world to create 200 of the simplest, most delicious recipes ever created. These recipes, most with six or fewer ingredients (other than oil, salt, and pepper), make it easy to be a great cook — the kind who can walk into a kitchen and throw together dinner in no time.” Sign up for the Milk Street online community to see free videos and recipes to use those fresh ingredients from your garden.
Do you like to try new recipes with fresh from the garden vegetables?
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