Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Gardening

 Another fruitful gardening year has almost come to a close.  With two nights already bringing what we call "Indian frosts," (a-patchy frost) we are scurrying to gather what is left and store it away for the winter.  Every year has its peculiar goods and bads, ups and downs, blessings and frustrations when it comes to gardening - and this year was no exception!  There were times when my little gardening-loving heart seemed about to break with disappointment as I viewed my heavily loaded Tomato plants devastated by blight, or found myself all but pleading with the barren Squash vines to produce some fruit.  But in the end I was able to thank God for all the good, and anticipate with excitement (and some learned-the-hard-way knowledge) next year's gardening season.  So here is a little overview of the both the ups and downs . . . but mostly the ups!

A menagerie of Tomatoes ripening on the porch . . .

  . . . plenty of Green Peppers to dehydrate, eat stuffed (YUMMY!!) and to make . . .

 . . . some Salsa!

 Jars of canned Salsa and delicious Blackcap Elderberry jam!

 The Elderberry bush was loaded this year!  Lots of jam, and dehydrating for winter cough syrup.

 The Peppers in our "pot garden" on the deck did just great!  Lots of Banana Peppers for stir-fries with green beans, summer squash, garlic and lots of butter (my mouth is watering . . .), and these Cayenne Peppers for drying.

 The Golden Bantam Sweet Corn grew taller than the 6'7" Boy . . .

{Thank God for long arms to pick tall Corn!}

 . . . and produced enough for several meals and a few bags for the freezer.

 This funny little fellow (Swallowtail caterpillar) was found enjoying some Carrot leaves . . .

  . . . the little Jonathan apple tree has some good looking fruit . . .

 . . . and wheelbarrows full of rich compost, happy Sunflowers and fluffy Duck derrieres make me smile. :)

Flowers are such a wonderful addition to the vegetable garden!  I always try to have at least Marigolds, Calendula and Dahlias interspersed amongst the veggies.  Here are some of the gem-like Gladiolas we grew this year.  So elegant!  One of my favorite cut flowers, these beauties kept our house looking beautiful for weeks and weeks.

Not to be out done . . . this lovely vase of Cosmos brightens up a corner in the kitchen.

 Mother's Rose has out done itself this year!  It is just full of big, beautiful and oh, so fragrant blooms!

 Now that Summer is briskly on its way out, the mums are beginning to come into their glory, 

and the Rudbeckia, Sedum, Echinacea and "Bird's Nests" make charming little Autumnal bouquets.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 I am very, very thankful that not ALL of my Tomatoes were killed by the dreaded blight.  In the picture below, you see my rows of Martino Roma Tomatoes after we stripped all the blackened leaves from them.  The fruit that was not diseased has continued to ripen and has been (and will be) made up into many jars of Salsa, Chili Sauce, and Tomato Sauce.

Here you can see some of the Cherry Tomato varieties that seemed to be blight resistant and all the other poor blighted plants.

Ever the optimist, I will end on a happy note . . . here is something to do with those green Tomatoes that won't ripen before frost, (or when your plants die early because they got hit with blight - but enough of that - this is a happy ending!) this rich, sweet and savory pie-filling, ice-cream-topper, just-eat-it-by-the-jar-with-a-spoon . . . Green Tomato Mince!

Maybe I'll post the recipe tomorrow . . .

~ Faith