The Full Circle Garden
We had our first frost the other night, yes in September! I’m so glad I harvested most of my tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and potatoes the last two weekends. Even though I have a rather small garden, I have been turning the excess into a winter stash.
I don’t have enough to can, so I blanch and roast my bounty and create pasta sauces, soup bases, and “cold killers” for winter. “Cold killers” are a mix of roasted tomatoes, alot of garlic and onion, and basil. I add this mix to any pasta sauce, to my eggs, to my veggies, and when a sore throat appears, this concoction with all its phytochemicals, zaps the virus to its death. If you don’t believe me, try it! I already used it this past week when a cold was coming on. Instead of running its usual course 7-10 days, the cold was defeated in a mere 3 days thanks to the “Cold Killer Concoction.” Me? Back to my normal spunky self!
For my Roasted Tomatoes recipe, please go to Roasted Garden Tomatoes on my kitchen page. Note: I used a mix of various cherry tomatoes (red currant, yellow pear, blueberry cherry, blackberry cherry, Cherokee, Sungold and red 100s) and I put them in together, and amazingly, most of the sauces ended up with the same orange-red color. I also used Amish and Super Italian Romas, Stupice, and Gold Dust, all heirloom tomatoes. My indoor herb garden, replanted outside, donated the basil for a savory touch.
When I roast tomatoes, I feel my garden moving full circle. A tiny seed grew into a plant 5 feet tall and almost as wide, fully loaded with plump fruit, and now it’s spreading a rich aroma through the house, promising a winter full of stew and soup. On a practical side, gardening makes ecological and economical sense. I paid nothing for the seeds, which I received from my cousin Jenny and my Uncle Al. If I bought new plants, I paid no more than $2 for wonderful heirlooms. I don’t have to worry about pesticides, since I don’t use them. (Okay, I can’t control that the city sprays for mosquitoes, but I’m talking about plant pesticides.)
This was the first year I tried planting potatoes in my tiny garden space. A friend gave me Yukon Gold sprouts and it was such a kick to pull up the plants and find…. guess what? Actual potatoes! I started digging with my hands, and found more, and more! Since I have a job in which I work with children, I immediately thought this would be a wonderful activity for children with sensory needs.
With all of my garden in my fridge or in freezer, there is only one thing left to do: plan my garden for next year! Note to self: plant half as many to give them space to grow. I tend to get so excited I overcrowd them every year.
What about you? How does your garden grow? If you have never planted a garden, I challenge you to start with even an indoor herb garden in March and start adding your herbs to your salads, soups and stews. Even then you can call yourself “gardener!”