Wednesday, November 11, 2009

After frost

Last Friday night was one of the most emphatic "first frosts" that I can remember. Thursday "they" predicted frost Friday night. Friday the summer garden was there. Saturday black was the dominant color. Of course, we are all beginning gardeners in that we are all still learning and surprised. Overnight the tomato, eggplant, and zinnia plants went black, as expected. The pepper plants went limp, despite their burlap coverings, as did the nasturtiums (so beautiful the previous day!) and the Malabar spinach.
The pak choi, chinese cabbage, arugula, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, celery and parsley seem to revel in their newfound freedom, intense green amid the dead. I don't remember how beautiful the alyssm (sp?) looked after frost. Of course, I never allowed so many plants to live until I dug up this spring the lawn between the street and sidewalk. They are in beautiful contrast to what I called a mystery plant this spring, but seems to be "swan's neck." It has brilliant red leaves now in beautiful contrast to the white alyssm. Down the side of the property are chrysanthemums. Right now the front lawn is raked and mowed, and it's worth enjoying if you are nearby. Remember that I haven't used any poisons, chemicals, power machinery, or watered mylawn in the past 34 years. There are more important goals in life than a pretty front lawn, but those who think that it requires life-killing practices should
look at 56 Gordonhurst Avenue now.

Inside I have washed the peppers I picked last Friday, saved some for fresh salads, and chopped and froze the rest. We're enjoying eggplant parmesan M-W-F this week, as I use up the ones I picked Friday. Unlike peppers, even the very little eggplants taste just fine. I peel and slice eggplants, dip them in an egg-and-milk mixture, and then in flavored bread crumbs, and saut them in olive oil. Then in a casserole, I alternate a layer of eggplant, one of grated mozzarella cheese, and one of homemade
tomato sauce. Yum!
The many picked tomatoes do not need any preservation or refrigeration. The greenest I have layered in black-and-white newspaper in boxes and put in the cold cellar. Maybe they will last for weeks. Many grace my counters. This way I can keep an eye on them as they ripen or rot. As they ripen, I use them in salads. This year for the first time I saw some AFTER the frost that seemed worth picking. They don't seem to have rotted yet on my counter, so maybe the fruit survived what killed the rest of the plant.
One of you asked how much I eat tomatoes. We started with the little ones late this past June, and will have supersteaks for, I think, weeks yet. During those months homegrown tomatoes were always part of our dinners. I like this lifestyle! Unlike some other veggies, tomatoes are easy to grow in this climate, and homegrown are the best by far.
Soon I will begin sowing winter rye where crops have died, but first I have to remove those crops, which is no small task. Meanwhile, Fred brings home about a hundred bag of others' leaves, and I move them to the back yard for storage. "Gardening" continues!


No comments: