October - What's in Kate's Garden?
In My Garden (Zone
Kate has relocated many times giving her
experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She
currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home
Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.
Where did summer go?? It seems only a
week or two ago that I planted the tomatoes and other vegetables in the new raised beds. Now
that space is overgrown with tomatoes, squash and watermelon vines, and we have been feasting
on green and purple beans, tomatoes and potatoes from the garden all summer. I grew several
different varieties of tomatoes and they all maturing. Each afternoon I am able to collect a
wonderful selection of colors and sizes. Alas the groundhog is also partaking of the tomatoes
and although there are enough for both of us, he does have a frustrating habit of taking the
larger, almost ripe ones! Just to confirm my suspicions I put a night camera in the garden. It
is activated by movement and caught the little guy right there by the tomatoes. The slack
fencing around the garden makes it a little trickier to get into the plants though!
On the deck, the containers are still
producing some green beans and they have been joined by a little container of salad greens.
These colorful greens may not make a full salad but they are great as an addition to sandwiches
course the year has been warped weather wise as we endured a cold late spring and rather cool
summer. The effect that all this had on plants let to many questions but this year the biggest
question that I have fielded was concerning hydrangeas. So many of the mop head hydrangeas did
not bloom this year. Just yesterday someone asked me
if she would increase the bloom by cutting it back now – that is exactly the wrong thing to do!
The buds for this wonderful spring bloomers are formed in the summer and fall of the previous
year. The 2013/2014 winter was so long and harsh that many of those blooms were killed. The
shrubs themselves are vibrant and green – just flowerless. So the advice is to leave them alone
and they will hopefully bloom as normal next year. I suspect many of us will add a little
protection to our favorite hydrangea this year too!
the herb garden the French tarragon and mint are both ready to be harvest and preserved. I like
to finely chop the mint and cover it with red wine vinegar. This year I plan to leave a small
jar in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in ice cube trays for winter use. The tarragon I
place whole stems in a container with white wine vinegar. This is steeped for a few weeks then
drained. The classic tarragon flavor vinegar is now ready to be rebottled and stored for winter
use. French Tarragon makes a clear vinegar whereas red basil takes on a lovely burgundy color
and chive blossom, which is made in spring, give a pretty pink color to the
October will be a time to
harvest all the remnant summer vegetables and start harvesting the Brussel sprouts and kale