Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pesto Time!

My plan to go sail in today's dinghy race at the club was unfortunately nixed by an upset tummy and I ended up spending most of the day curled up with a book on the Evil Futon of Nap. By late afternoon, though, I was feeling well enough that I decided that I could still carry out the other plan I'd had in mind - a little Fall gardening. 
Cosmos always flowers at the beginning of Fall, right about the time it's time to pick the remaining basil for pesto. The cosmos are pretty much the one flower left from my first year of gardening, when I split the bed between flowers and veggies. As time went on, I realized that I really preferred growing things to eat, veggies and herbs. Basil's been a favorite for a while!

This year's wasn't my biggest basil crop of all time, but I had enough for plenty of caprese (or carp-rese, as happened one night when I was playing with my food - that was towards the end of tomato season and since I suspected that was going to be the last caprese salad of the year, I'd wanted to do something fun with it for the blog - I hadn't set out to make a fish but as I was laying out the slices, the shape they were falling into just suggested it and I went with it) and here at the end of the season, I think I was able to pick enough to keep me in pesto through the winter. It freezes well, and there's something so nice about thawing out a little of summer's bounty in the dead of winter - my version of Ray Bradbury's dandelion wine, I guess. I got the pignoli on the way home, I'll start the sun-dried tomatoes I like in my pesto soaking in oil after I finish this post, and tomorrow night, it'll be time for my annual pestopalooza.

I also have a lot of green tomatoes on the vine - 

I picked a bag of those - also picked some peppers (not a peck).

I haven't done much gardenblogging this year, but it was a sort of an odd year. The peppers actually ended up going in the space that's usually devoted to my favorite Swiss chard; up until this year I'd always said that if I actually had to live on what I grew, I'd probably grow chard, because I've never had any trouble growing plenty of it. This year, though, I just couldn't get it to start. I was blaming the cats -- the Paerdegat has a growing feral cat problem. At one point, we had a couple of people at the club who were doing that trap/neuter/release program that is said to be the best way to control a feral cat population; unfortunately that came to an end, and now I think that somebody at the Paerdegat Athletic Club is just feeding them. Without doing something about the breeding, feeding feral cats is just a way to guarantee more feral cats - I'm actually quite fond of kittehs myself but I was mistaken for a cat-hater earlier this year after something like my 4th attempt at starting the chard got scratched up by cats using my garden as a litterbox.

It may just have been a bad year for chard though - we had a nasty heat wave early in the summer & chard does like cool weather, and when I went to Dragonetti's to get some pepper to try in the empty spot (worked well), the clerk who rang up my plants said she'd had similarly bad luck with her chard. So maybe it wasn't just the cats. My cucumbers, which had been another pretty consistent producer in years past (although there are occasional pest problems), also bit the dust in July after a rollicking start - I'd barely made my first batch of tzatziki and then pfffft, they shrivelled up and died.

What did great was the tomatoes. Very good summer for tomatoes, never quite had more than I knew what to do with, but every time I went to the club I'd have a few for myself for the week plus usually a few extras for TQ,  and anytime someone offered me a ride home I could thank them with a vine-ripened tomato!    Here was the garden at the beginning of September:

Here was the garden after I finished tonight. Aside from picking stuff, I also did weeding (good day for it, it was barely drizzling while I was there but it must have rained a fair bit 'cause the soil was very wet & soft so the weeds came out easily) and pulled out all but one of the tomato plants. The big one, I left for another day, I picked about as many green tomatoes as I expect I can eat in a week & while I doubt I'll get any more ripe ones, I do think they'll do better on the vine than sitting on top of the refrigerator.

Left a few peppers on the bush for the same reason, but it's definitely winding down. 

I got to the club after everyone else had gone home - sometimes it's nice having the place to yourself, all peaceful and quiet.  

More stinkhorns coming up in my bed.

Not a lot of fall foliage just yet, but there are some lovely fall flowers coloring the gardens
And I'm not the only one with a little produce left to pick.
Not quite what I'd planned for the day, but in the end, still a lovely (if utterly antisocial) Sunday visit to Sebago.


Baydog said...

Fried green tomatoes with pesto, rosemary and jalapenos. $9.95

bonnie said...

OK, I put a bunch into a pork stew (I'd cooked pernil on Saturday & the thing needed to be used) but between you and Fuu both saying "fry them!" I held aside the 4 biggest and best for a little attempt at Southern cuisine. Any suggestions for a first-time tomato frier?

I actually tried a bite of a genuine Southern-style fried green tomato in Kentucky - very tasty but the breading was kind of heavy for my tastes.