Monday, November 3, 2014

Welcome to our Autumn Garden

I spend a lot of time in our garden. I prefer gardening to working out at the gym. It's so easy to spend a couple of hours here, sit down and mull, then spend a couple of hours of there, I notice I tend to follow the sun in autumn,  in the summer I follow the shade of the large oak and pine trees that help with some dappled shade on the east side of the house. On the west side we have a enormous 250 year-old Mountain Maple that is gorgeous all year long, in the summer time cooling shade on the west side of the house when the sun goes down at the end of very hot days.

In the rainy season the trunk and the main branches are covered in a thick coating of the most brilliant green coloured moss. The moss is in some places almost an inch thick. When the sun hits the branches in winter and early spring before the leaves have begun to unfold the tree shimmers in a green outline. Most beautiful to view from the kitchen or family room.

Shishito for Paprika
The photo is the dried branches of the Oak Hydrangea, beautiful bush in the garden and especially when the end of summer has come and gone. Most of the plants and trees have survived this terrible drought that is now into it's third year. I lost only a few of the larger bushes, I was expecting more, so counting my blessings.

I let two small lawn areas die back but since it has turned cooler and we actually finally had a couple of days of rain over the last month, both lawns have re-emerged, which makes me think, I don't have to water these two areas next year at all if they have enough moxie to survive.

Old fashioned Summer Strawberry Jam Recipe:

4 cups halved small firm strawberries
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice.

Mix berries and sugar and let stand for at least 8 hours, better overnight though.
Place mixture in medium stainless steel saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Add lemon juice, and return to a boil, rapidly boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 24 hours.

Bring berries to full boil again over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
First harvest of Pomegranates 2014

Ladle into hot hars and process for 10 minutes. Makes approximately 2.5 cups. 1 cup of finely chopped rhubard can be added in the first step. (adapted from Small Batch Preserving)

I am contemplating what to plant and where next year, it could be another year of hardly any rain again so I'm gauging what to plant strategically. So far I've got some lovely garlic that is sprouting madly, and I know I shall plant onions. Good crops for over winter into spring harvest, and last until mid autumn. I just finished my onion harvest from last year this past week.

We have managed just fine getting fresh vegetables due to the fact we have a wealth of farmers in the area and regular farmer markets throughout the year on different days during the week. So fortunate due to where we live in one way.