Kate Stephenson is a retired writer who can’t seem to keep her thoughts to herself. She is clearly obsessed with growing all manner of plants, especially vegetables and other edibles. See for yourself if her enthusiasm for gardening is contagious!
KATE'S CORNER It’s not really September, is it? I must be having a nightmare. I woke up this morning and I was certain I had another week of August left. No such luck. The weather is still gorgeous, though, and that’s what we will concentrate on, right? The birds are emptying the various feeders faster than they can be filled, the wild blackberries are feeding the wild world, all is sunshine and… ha, you thought I was going to say flowers, didn’t you? Well, no. Fruits and vegetables and herbs. Get your flower fix somewhere else! Be careful what you wish for. Have you heard those words as many times as I have? I have even said them myself. Well, I wished for tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans and berries. And guess what? I have them. I really have them! I finally have so many tomatoes and cucumbers (and eggs, too) that I am sharing them WITH OTHER PEOPLE! Oh my goodness. I suppose they could be canned or frozen or dried. (Not the eggs.) That would be thrifty and logical but I probably won’t get it done. Why does it seem that I have less spare time now than when I was working full time? Perhaps I just move more slowly. It’s a luxury that most of us don’t appreciate having wonderful, delicious and nutritious food just for the picking. All organic, non-sprayed for pests. (A recent aphid infestation in the greenhouse was brought to an end by ladybugs and their larvae.) Thank you, good bugs. In the fenced garden, we have very few pests. I’m sure it’s due to the huge numbers of birds and the one Gigantic Toad who lives in the green beans. He (she?) is very territorial, so no other amphibians come around. In the kitchen, Caprese Salad and Panzanella are running neck and neck for my favorite tomato-and-basil-centric dinner this year. (While I offer no recipes here, you can easily find them on the internet if you are so inclined.) Other people might tire of these delights, but I could eat them daily. Summer is the season for such luxurious meals. Since I am looking forward to many cooler days to come, seed packets are beginning to catch my eye. It’s a good time to start thinking about the fall and winter veggie garden. I always have kale growing, so I will start some new plants. Of course, all kinds of greens will do well in the fall, and I particularly enjoy growing Asian veggies. I have to find seeds for red bok choy. It is really good. I found some at an Asian market across the water and not only is it delicious, it’s pretty, too. Carrots and radishes, if you like them small, will have time to give a good result. Spinach and lettuces that grow fast can go in the ground this month. Of course, garlic and all kinds of onions are good to plant in September. Good drainage is crucial for your fall and winter garden. Let’s see if I practice what I preach. Ask me in November if I have all these vegetables to harvest. Easier to dream than to dig, right? I better get started today. Okay, have you heard the latest funny story about the chickens? No? Well, we can’t have that. We let the “girls” out of their pen every day for several hours when we are out in the yard to protect them. They wait, at the gate, ready to run as fast as possible to vie for worms and slugs (Get ‘em, get ‘em!) or other chicken delicacies. If nobody appears to open the gate in what she thinks is a timely manner, Betty, one of our young Black Australorps, starts yelling. And she yells and yells and yells. Sometimes she loses her voice, she yells so much. How did we raise a hen that has such a sense of entitlement? On that note, I have to go. Betty is hollering as we speak! We’ll talk soon. Garden on. Kate