Ah, it’s Tomato Time! The other day I had so many tomatoes from the garden that I didn’t know what in the world to do with them. Don’t worry, I figured it out! I ate them fresh every day, slow roasted (cut small tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, put on a little fresh thyme, 300 oven, 3 or 4 hours) over 20 of them for a great addition to all kinds of foods,
blanched, peeled, diced, then froze over 10 cups of them for future stews, soups, and sauces, and gave some to friends. It looks like we will have an additional abundance of ripe tomatoes over the weekend, and I plan to make a fresh tomato sauce (gravy for the Italian Americans). It’s a little labor intensive but so, so good — last year my husband told me he had an out of body experience when I served it for our Sunday Dinner, so obviously it’s worth the work!
I’m also doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years — seed saving! The lettuce has bolted, flowered, and now has little puffball seed pod thingums. It was fascinating to watch the process. I had no idea lettuce got so TALL and covered with tiny, pretty flowers like this!
If you look closely on the right — you see the pointy looking closed flowers with the larger bottoms? The seeds are inside there! What I’m doing is cutting the plant, putting it upside down in a paper bag, and letting it stay there for a few weeks to get nice and dry. I’ll then remove the seeds and let them dry a little more on a towel.
This weekend I’m going to clear the entire bed of the rest of the seedy (shouldn’t seedy be a compliment?!) lettuce plants and plant some fall greens. I’m thinking a few rows each of kale, Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and some of the newly liberated lettuce seeds!
I also want to tell you a little bit about my Wild Garden. When I first started gardening, I didn’t know anything! I grew up surrounded by concrete. There were zero trees on our street and no grass anywhere. So of course, my first attempt at building a raised bed was less than perfect.
I purchased cinder blocks and built an 8×8 square and filled it with dirt on my first try at a garden. I quickly realized that once it became productive it was near impossible to get to the center of that 8×8 square to harvest, weed, and water. Ooops. Now, all of my beds are 3×3 or 6×3. Lesson learned. But, what to do with this 8×8 space filled with good organic dirt? I decided to let it go wild! I thought it would provide places for creatures to have their babies and sleep, some food for them, and my own little experiment of “what would my yard look like if we just let it be natural!”
To my neighbor’s eyes, I bet this section of my yard looks REAL CRAZY. But my creature friends love it! The plethora of plants that usually get called weeds and eradicated seem to attract the most bees, birds, and butterflies! This year, the mulberry tree that seeded itself started producing berries — the birds went wild! Also, this year is the first year that bull thistles bloomed. The butterflies and especially the bees are over the moon with happiness with the bull thistle!
I understand that after they flower, birds love the seeds inside. I can’t wait to see this!
There’s more — but this is already long enough. I’ll do another Victory Garden update soon. ❤