Autumn Jubilee in the Garden

Autumn means the garden is winding down, and there is work to be done for a nice display next year as well as keeping the tender plants from harm over the winter. Some annuals can be safely over-wintered in a sheltered area, like our Carolina room. A few of the flowers were still blooming with the warm temperatures that have lasted well into October.

The geranium has one more gorgeous vivid pink bloom too.

For the biggest task, I decided on a day that the tomato garden was ready to be harvested for the last time and cleaned up. You can see the tomatoes are just about spent, and there is still some fresh basil and parsley to be harvested.

I harvested all the remaining tomatoes, red or green.

Then I cleaned out the planter box of everything. I can plant bulbs here to bloom early while I wait for later in the spring to plant the next vegetable garden.

Daffodils and crocus are great choices, usually blooming well. That is if the critters don’t dig them up and eat them.

These can be planted fairly close together. I may put more out on the driveway too. With the warm temperatures now, I can wait a bit longer to do that.

Just like last year, I used this method of Saving Seeds labeling the ones collected from each variety. I didn’t clean all the tomatoes of their seeds, just one or two from each variety. The tomatoes were eaten in salads.

I baked the pie pumpkin into small loaves of pumpkin bread to add to the Treat Bags we made. Of course I had to save those seeds.

Seeds were saved from this beautiful butternut squash as well, only it didn’t come from my garden.

I spread the seeds out on a paper towel to dry.

I also collected some flower seeds from the snapdragons so I can plant those where I want them next year.

Cleaning up the pots, I snipped off dead leaves and twigs and spent flowers. One of the toad lily plants had a final show of spotted beauties.

I startled a skink during all the cleanup. I think he is wondering what I’ll do to his home. They are cute with their long blue tails, and they eat a lot of bugs, so I like having them here.

If you have irises like I do, be sure your beds are raked of detritus. Rhizomes must be open to air for the plants to bloom next year.

The wild turkeys are coming back. A small flock of four females has been hanging around lately. They haven’t been here before as they ignored me when I offered them some whole grain bread tidbits.

I brought the plants I want to survive over the winter to the Carolina room. The avocado tree shares its window with the toad lilies and the smaller spike dracaena.

The larger spike dracaena is in front of the west windows that get more sun. Geraniums were replanted into two pots to let them fill in a bit more. I don’t know if the verbena will survive, but I’m going to try. Another small avocado tree is on the lower right. I brought the amaryllis in a couple of weeks ago to let it dry out. I hope it will bloom for the eighth year over the winter.

There were so many of rest of the red and ripe tomatoes collected over the past couple of weeks, that I gave away zip top bags of them to friends, and still had a lot left. I cut the larger ones and some of the small ones into thick slices and roasted them in the oven with a full head of garlic. I cut the top off the garlic and put a drizzle of olive oil on it.

Roast in a slow oven, 250º for one hour – 1-1/2 hours until the garlic is done. Remove it and allow it to cool so you can remove the skins. Mash the garlic with a fork.

Continue roasting the tomatoes until the tomatoes are dry and thick, nicely caramelized. Here they are about half done, needing about 2 more hours in the slow oven.

When the tomatoes have fully roasted, add fresh chopped basil and the roasted garlic.

Place the mixture in a glass jar, tamping it into the bottom. Then add a thin layer of olive oil to cover the top. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep about 2 weeks.

The newest cookbook from the creative cooks at Milk Street concentrates on Vegetables. There are many ways to put vegetables in the center of your plate. Here in the U.S., meat has been the focus of the plate for centuries. The rest of the world, however, knows how to approach vegetables, grains and beans not only with respect but with a fresh, lively approach, one that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. There are 250 recipes of fresh ideas for everything from side dish pleasers to meatless main dishes. It will publish in November, and the wonderful folks at Milk Street are giving away a copy of this hardbound book to someone reading this post!

Leave a comment on this post, tell us your favorite vegetable side dish or main course, then click on the Rafflecopter button below to enter the drawing.

Charlie came by for a bite, even though he has a lot of acorns to eat right now. I know you love seeing his cute face.

The warmth of these last few weeks has delayed the change of color in the trees, but there is this one that is getting started on a brilliant red. I’ll have more fall color for you next month.

You can pre-order Milk Street Vegetables on Amazon, or from the Milk Street website. Do you have a favorite meatless main dish?

53 thoughts on “Autumn Jubilee in the Garden

  1. Rheanna

    I love making zoodles (zucchini noodles) when they are plentiful. My favorite meatless main dish is a Mexican Quinoa dish I found on Pinterest. It’s great because you still get protein form the quinoa and it tastes so good you don’t even miss the meat.

    1. Nancy Myers

      You always have something new that I learn in your posts. I like to oven roast acorn squash chunks for a dinner vegetable.

  2. Linda B

    You are ahead of me getting the beds cleaned…I appreciate the tip about the iris… going to do a better job of cleaning so we have good blooms next year. I think I have let compost & wood chips cover them a little! That will be my job tomorrow.

  3. Gail

    Our family enjoys pickled beets. I usually make them fresh during the summer and then can enough in the fall to make it through winter.

    1. Joy Love

      I love eggplant Parmesan for a meatless meal. I grew eggplant in the garden this year and was able to freeze some to enjoy this winter

  4. Barbara

    We really enjoy a vegetable dish called Colache. It has tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, green peppers, and fresh corn in it along with some special seasonings. And as the flavors meld together, the leftovers are even better the next day.

  5. Amy L

    This time of year I enjoy using winter squash in everything! There are so many varieties out there, it’s fun to taste them, and they are so colorful!

  6. Shari K.

    We are vegetarians, so all our meals are meatless! Jambalaya, made with tofu, is probably my favorite. Stir fry vegetables with tofu or tempeh is another great choice. This time of year is great for stews/chilis, and they are so easy to make meatless.

  7. I am a broccoli girl. I like it steamed, then with a few pats of butter or a cheese sauce. Creamy broccoli soup is also a hit! I like tomato soup also, especially with grilled cheese.

  8. Connie Wolfe

    I enjoyed seeing the wildlife pictures and your process for saving seeds. My favorite meatless main dish is now eggplant parmesan. This was our first year to grow eggplant in our garden.
    Connie

  9. Nancy H

    I love roasted vegetables in the fall. I had some yesterday with a different herb mix at a friends house. They were wonderful. I am going to have to try her mix of herbs. On the home front we had a bumper crop of winter squash. My husband was smoking some meat and decided to cut open a squash and add it into the smoker. It gave the squash a wonderful smokey flavor. We are not sure what kind of squash it is. It is not something we planted and we think it cross pollinated with the acorn squash so we will probably never have this kind again. But we will enjoy them while we have them.

  10. My favorite side dish is called Spinach Bake- spinach/kale, sharp cheddar, bread crumbs, sliced hard boiled eggs, white sauce, cayenne pepper and a few other goodies. Let me know if you’d like me to send the recipe. My family expects it at every holiday.

    1. Charlie DiSante

      This northern girl is learning so much about the NC climate from you as well as enjoying your other adventures. I have a question. My husband just made a wooden box, up on legs, about 2.5 feet deep. It is close to the house. I am wondering if daffodil, hyacinth and other sprig bulbs would make it through the Lillington winter. Opinion?

  11. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    Always fun to see what’s happening in your garden! Ours is long gone – we have a much shorter growing season than you. Lately, our favorite vegetable dish is a foil packet done on the grill, and just about everything goes in: little potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, sometimes a sliced up bratwurst, too. I bet butternut squash would be good in it!

    1. Edy John

      We’re always trying to add more vegetables to our diet. This summer we found a new favorite salad with quinoa, sweet potatoes, corn, black beans and kale.

  12. Melanie

    Beautiful photography, as always! Daffodils are poisonous and animals know it, they won’t eat those bulbs or the plants. I wondered why the deer ate up my tulips but left the daffies alone. LOL

  13. Joan Sheppard

    Hi to all the animals! I’ve always wanted to plant a continuous garden with early bulbs, then tulips, the crocus then whatever comes next. Will want to include Toad lilies! One and done. But my little chipmunks consider it a buffet! Which reminded me of the line for planting the new seeds…
    One for the mouse, one for the crow,
    One to rot, and one to grow

  14. Debbie Miller

    I love vegetables-I am not a big meat eater. My current two favorite vegetable dishes are homemade fresh cream corn and cauliflower salad. I will have to try roasted tomatoes.

  15. Candy Soehren

    My favorite side dish, hands down, will have corn in it; succotash, corn pudding, corn bread, corn casserole, or just plain corn. I love nearly all vegetables except rutabaga.

  16. Bonnie Coleman

    Hi Carole! When bringing plants inside to winter over, do you have a secret on how to make sure the toads and other varmints are off them? I always feel edgy about it! Thanks!

    1. I shake off the pots to rid them of little bugs. If I see white flies, I’ll spray them with a bug killer and let them sit for a few hours before taking them in. I only bring inside plants in pots. I don’t have toads in the pots. I wish I did have more to eat the bugs in the garden.

  17. Teri

    We purchased an air fryer/ grill this year and love grilling vegetables. I cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise and use whole portobello mushrooms. I place them in a ziplock bag with avocado oil and Badia complete seasoning and shake everything around. Then grill at 450 for 20-25 minutes. They come out delicious.

  18. Bobbie Woodruff

    Hi Carole,
    Your tomato’s look delicious. I love all kind of beans with fresh corn bread and small green onions. My hubby isn’t a fan of a lot of vegetables and no tomato’s or onions. He is more a meat and potato guy.
    We have squirrels and wild rabbits we feed plus the birds.we buy a rabbit and squirrel food that has corn and nuts. It’s a little more expensive but they love it. It’s so fun to watch them come feed.
    Have a great week.

  19. Kathleen Dell'Aquila

    I made 58 jars of spaghetti sauce so far this season, so I guess you would say tomatoes are my favorite side dish. I’m moving into making green tomato salsa now before the weather ruins the rest of the tomatoes!

  20. lee

    I am fishing up cleaning my garden beds this weekend. I did not know about cleaning up the debris around Iris – and I have four varieties of them! Doing that this year and tying the oven roasted tomatoes which look delicious! Have a great weekend! One of my favorite vegetarian main dishes is black bean sweet potato chili!

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