Garden Lifestyle

Garden Bounty: Late Summer Garden Happenings

What's going on in your garden?

  • The picnic table on the backporch holds the mother lode of garden bounty--the daily garden harvests are brought there before being brought into the kitchen or shared with visitors. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Love the look of these "lavishly pleated fruits" of Gezahnte (as described in Baker Creek catalog)--similar to Costoluto Genovese--when you cut them they look like tomato doilies.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • To oven roast--cut tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them in an oiled casserole dish. Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 450 for about 30 minutes until soft and bubbling.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Oven-roasted tomatoes can be eaten hot, warm or cold right out of the pan. They make a dynamite tomato soup or puree them for a sauce; they are delicious in salads, on sandwiches and pizza or pasta.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Serranos and jalapenos are abundant--make salsa or pickled peppers and can them.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Summertime is homemade salsa time--there is nothing like it!  
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Chile season is upon us! Here's a close-up of one of my favorites--Baltimore Fish Peppers--they are quite hot and make a good salsa and a great hot sauce.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • I used garden-grown cukes, onions, garlic and chiles to make these bread-and-butter pickles and added a whole dill flowerhead to each jar.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • The garlic has been cleaned, trimmed and cured and is ready to store in the coldroom.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Nasturtium leaves and flowers are great on salads and they make a wonderful herb butter. They are spicy like watercress. I also use them to make a gorgeous herb vinegar.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) has been in bloom for more than a few weeks. The hummingbirds and pollinators work these spotted, orange blooms all day. I infuse the leaves, stems and flowers in apple cider vinegar to make a useful, topical spray to use as an insect repellent and anti-itch for poison ivy.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • I have a few flats of autumn vegetable plants awaiting transplanting for the fall garden--its not too late--so better get busy.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

What’s going on in your garden? As the harvest season is peaking and some of our summer vegetable and herb plants are winding down, it is time for preserving, tidying up and getting ready to plant a few fall crops.

Tomatoes and chile peppers are coming in full tilt boogie in my garden. So we eat them daily raw, in salsas and sauces and cooked in every way imaginable. The nasturtiums, calendulas, sunflowers and marigolds are peaking adding their rowdy colors to the garden green. Squash and cukes have slowed down. Both basil and summer savory, seasonal annuals have been cut back a few times already and what with the cooler nights, they too are slowing down. Some of the squash and melon vines are dying or have died and it is time to pull them out. Of course the weeds are the most gung-ho of all of the plants–this time of the year our gardens start to look a bit unkempt.

The basil, mint, lemon balm, thyme and savory have all been cut and hung in bunches or spread in baskets to dry. I have also made syrups and vinegars with the fresh-cut herbs. I made pickles and used a whole flower/seed head of dill in each jar.

I have been saving lots of seed. Dill and coriander seed have been dried, removed from stems, and bottled for culinary use. I’ve been removing calendula seed heads as they turn brown, saving those seeds for next year’s planting and to share with gardening friends, since they are plentiful.

Recently, I visited with my gardening friend Deborah, who grows most of her vegetables and herbs from seed. So I have fall plants like new baby kales, chard, broccoli, tatsoi, endives, chicories, radicchio and fall lettuce mixes from her to plant out in the garden in the next week or so while the moon is still waning.

Right now I have to go tackle a bushel of Roma tomatoes! … Enjoy the bounty–happy harvest season!

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