September Tomatoes and the End of 2018 Gardening

Hello Friends!

I cut the last of my sunflowers and some Zinnias last weekend, and I realized my growing season has reached its end. The time has come to clear the Zinnias and plant the perennials I bought for the bee and butterfly garden back in July. In order to prevent transplant sock during the hottest part of the year and lose all of my plants (which is what happened to me last year), I decided to leave them in their pots until the weather cooled down. And that time has officially arrived.

I’m happy to report that my butterfly bushes are both thriving this year, and the Clematis has spread like wildfire. I made a new discovery this summer too – Yellow Finches like Zinnias! I planted sunflowers to draw the pretty song birds to my yard, but only a couple of seeds survived without being dug up by squirrels to become beautiful sunflowers. So the first morning I sat outside with my coffee and saw finches on the Zinnias, I was thrilled!

The time has come to till my garden plot under, too. The crabapple tree is still standing, so I probably need to get ahold of my friend and nail down a day and time for him to come cut it down. But I’ve been so busy with other things that tree removal has definitely moved to the back burner. The container potatoes and green beans have already been taken down. The only thing left going now are the tomatoes and peppers.

Drumroll please….at long last, I finally have some tomatoes ripening on the vine! I have two Early Girls and two Romas that are a day or two away from being picked, and several more green tomatoes are coming up behind them. I know the time is fast approaching when the plants will be done producing, but I’m so excited that I’m finally going to get a little something out of my hard work!

I’ve already come up with a plan for next year to do a raised bed garden for the tomatoes so I can enclose them in chicken wire and keep the squirrels out. I’m also going to make it big enough to include green beans and another veggie or two. This has been my second summer at this house and I feel like it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I’ve never had so much trouble with gardening before, but I’m determined to find a new way of doing it to get around the squirrels and the big trees hovering over my yard!

I’m stull mulling over the idea to set up some shelves and grow lights to start plants from seed next year. I feel like my gardening season this year wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped it would be and I should probably get a good garden plan under way before I start trying to cultivate plants from seed. That’s something I’ve always struggled with, so I think focusing on one big undertaking at a time is probably for the best.

The one thing that really has been a great success this summer is my strawberry beds! Since it’s the first year I had to pinch the blooms and not let any berries produce so the plants will get strong. But they are thick and spreading beautifully. I also have herbs in the beds with the strawberries, in the ground near the strawberries, and in a couple of planters on my retaining wall. In each place I have them, they are doing really well! I use basil and oregano in so many dishes and I have more than I even know what to do with.

I think I’m going to wait until we start having some cool nights in October, then I’m going to start cutting and drying some herbs. I’ve been saving glass spice jars to put them in, and I can’t wait to tackle that project! I’ll have basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, mint and chives. The only thing that hasn’t done great is the thyme (I might’ve gotten lazy with the watering over the last few weeks), but even that I’ll have a little bit of. I might have to buy my vegetables, but at least my herbs will be home grown!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some tomato plants to water!

Love,
Loren

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