Fall with Grace

I should try to learn more from my gardens.  They get on with the work of life as the seasons change without complaint.

Roma paste tomatoes are ripening up nicely.  We’ve already harvested enough to make two quarts of homemade catsup (my grandmother’s spicy recipe with red peppers, nutmeg and cloves) and two quarts of tomato sauce.  Still they are coming.  I brought home four today.  I think we should have tomato and tofu sandwiches on toast for dinner.  

Cucumbers are still trying to produce.  I brought home six little ones today.  Look at this baby.  I wonder if it will continue to grow and end up on our plate?

Dinosaur kale is growing like crazy (and will into the late fall).  We had wilted kale with garlic and lemon for dinner last night and potato and kale enchiladas for dinner the night before.

One big dill plant is hanging around, ready to offer up flavor should I need to make more pickles.  Can you find the fly hanging out on the flower stem?  Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Other insects are doing well, too.  Here is a cute little grasshopper hiding on a lush leaf.  It doesn’t look like he is eating anything at the moment.  

Komatsuna anyone?  I harvested the last plant, blanched the leaves, pressed them into two twelve inch ropes and cut the ropes into bite size pieces.  The plate holds a dozen or so bites that contain what was an entire grocery bag overflowing with komatsuna.  I ate the four ends as I worked.  Add a splash of tamari and you have a delightful dish.

I saved a couple thousand seeds from the plant, too.  Enough to meet the komatsuna needs of New York State next year, should they know where to find me.  Good thing the chemical giants haven’t decided to start patenting komatsuna seeds yet.  

Then there is our backyard garden.  Mostly just volunteer squash now that the herbs are over.  The vines are not satisfied with the corner I gave them so they are annexing a little more lawn each day.  I say go for it. 

Most of the vines seem to bear pumpkins.

Here is one still needing to turn orange.

Here is something just getting started on a vine that is making a break for it over the fence.  Maybe it thinks the neighbors need more fruit?

Some vines produced what appears to be magda squash, a summer variety with Italian origins.  

After a good nap and a stretch…

…Frida is ready to guard the whole thing.

The gardens have provided a real bonanza of food this year.  I have loved my short daily rides to the community garden.  On the way there today I had to take a sidewalk for a block as they repaved one of the roughest sections of road on my trip there.  The ride will be even better tomorrow!  The strolls through the jungle in the backyard are nice, too.  Gives me an excuse to scratch Frida behind the ear.  A real win win.

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2 responses to “Fall with Grace

  1. Lovely pics. After cutting down a forest of dill. I’m worried I won’t have enough for my late pickles. What is Komatsuna?

    • Glad you liked the pictures! Thank you for writing to say so. Hope you and your family are well (despite your dill shortage). If I know you, I suspect that you already have scads of pickles and every other gardeny thing, such that you won’t go hungry this winter. Your gardens always looked amazing to me!

      I’ve grown Komatsuna for three seasons now, yet I only knew it was an Asian green. Since you asked, I looked it up. Wikipedia says Komatsuna is also known as Japanese mustard spinach and is related to the tulip. Who knew?! The alternate name is a good one, as it seems to slot in between mustard and spinach flavor wise. The flavor stays fairly mild even when left in the ground too long. It bolts pretty quickly. It can be eaten raw, but I usually blanch it.

      Take care!

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