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.