October - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

It’s been a glorious fall in Maine. Jack Frost has visited nearby communities, but I’ve escaped damage so far. Still, my gardening season is winding down. I’ve harvested most of the vegetable garden. The last few unripe pumpkins and zucchinis remain on the vine. A small lettuce patch, sewn in late summer, continues to produce. Annuals in the flower beds are starting to look ragged but still blooming. Indian summer, an unseasonably warm and dry period, has stressed plants that have already been in decline. Trees are putting on their fall display.

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Colorful red maple leaves blend with bright impatiens.

My walkway is painted with leaves.  

Late fall bloomers continue to put on a spectacular show. ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum is a must-have plant in my zone 3-4 garden. It looks fantastic all season long. The fleshy foliage never shows insect or fungal damage. Flowers develop by mid-summer and slowly turn from green to brilliant pink. Wow! Most of my sunflowers, with the large single flowerheads are done for the season, but the multi-stemmed ones continue to produce new blooms. Sunflowers always get my attention!

‘Autumn Joy’ sedum is long-blooming.

Multi-stemmed sunflowers will continue to bloom until frost.

The island in my kitchen is piled with squashes and multiple bowls of tomatoes and peppers. In the garage, a huge tray of onions is ready for final cleaning before being stored in mesh bags in the basement where pails of potatoes are already stored in a dark cool area. Washed carrots fill the crisper drawers in the refrigerator. Over-ripe zucchinis fill another shelf. They’ll soon be part of a new soup recipe. This afternoon, I’ll be cooking a pumpkin so that tomorrow I can create a pumpkin streusel cake for my garden club. Ten other pumpkins will soon be baked, and the thick pulp stored in the freezer. But first, I’ll cut some tiny grape tomatoes in half and place them on a dehydrator. By morning they’ll be transformed in raisin-sized flavor bursts.

When January winds blow snow and sleet against my windows, I’ll be warm and cozy inside eating the fruits of my labors. Satisfaction!

New England pie pumpkin will soon become a streusel cake!

Dehydrated grape tomatoes are a gourmet treat.