Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What You Can See at Saturday's Open Garden

This Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19, offers an Open Garden at 56 Gordonhurst Avenue, Montclair, with displays in the front yard. The displays will run from 2-5 PM, but my back yard vegetable garden will be open only from 2-4, with the last tour beginning at 3:30 PM. The major display will be a butterfly tent, where you can take charming photos, especially if you bring children. When many children are present, some butterflies will be released from the tent to begin their migration to Mexico. Several butterfly raisers will be available for questions.

In the back yard you can see:
RASPBERRIES, and you can nibble on them if you come before they are all gone!
MALABAR SPINACH, and if you bring an envelope, you can take home seeds so you can raise it yourself next year. First time offer: If you bring a container, you can pick spinach to eat at home. I have so much this year, it seems silly not to share it.
SMALL TOMATOES: You may nibble on these too if you see tomatoes that are either bright red (sweet 100's) or bright yellow (sun gold). These are past their prime, but they are still respectable. They also have lots of dead branches, but I regard these as gray hair in humans.
BIG TOMATOES to be admired only. I have filled over 30 ziplock bags of tomato sauce made from Burpee's hybrid supersteak tomatoes. Each will provide a delicious dinner for two of lentil stew, spaghetti, or eggplant parmesan. These also provide tasty contributors to a pita dinner, or stirred in with zuchinni. I have been harvesting them as they turn color to keep the consumers human, but I may try to let some ripen on the vine to show off this Saturday. One plant under the peach tree with very little sun has borne six big tomatoes. One was 5" across. Yes, they are delicious.
EGGPLANTS I hope, critters willing.
ZUCCHINI They went two weeks with no females (in contrast to the beginning of the season!) but are now providing both sexes of flowers, and some nice zucchini.
PAK CHOI that promises to give me a good fall crop. Last year it survived the winter and protected nearby pea plants from the woodchucks, so I've planted many of that plant's seeds in auspicious places.
NASTURTIUMS Yes, I can eat them, and you may nibble.
LETTUCE, if I'm lucky.
Meager beans because the woodchucks ate them when they were vulnerable.

I mowed the lawn today because rain is predicted for the next three days. This means it will be more lush than ideal on Saturday, but I guess you can forgive that from a lawn that has had no poisons, chemicals, power machinery or watering for 34 years.

If you want to get more involved in the Cornucopia Network of NJ, the sponsoring organization that has promoted local, organic food since 1983, you can join a nearby potluck dinner after the garden and the CNNJ annual meeting afterward. All CNNJ events are free, but a can is available for donations.

I'm looking forward to enjoying a large crowd from 2-4!


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