I learned frugality from our parents. World War II as imputes: frugality in all things, even gardening.
My father collected seeds. He showed us how. Father also wintered geraniums and other plants. One of his prize geraniums, of Hungarian origin, was almost three feet tall. We referred to it as the “geranium tree:” deep red, a prolific bloomer even in winter.
A few years ago, seeing that my sister was doing what our father had done, I too started wintering geraniums. This year, some bright pinks will be added to the salmon and magentas. One day, maybe, just maybe, one or both of us will have a “geranium tree” to rival that of our father.
Or, perhaps it is habit. Tradition. An unwavering rite of summer's passage. Perhaps it is simply a pleasing thing to do this wintering and ‘bringing in the seed.’
Or maybe, it is an act of preserving something more: not just seeds or a favorite flower, but of preserving that invisible connection to our father, from whom we gleaned the knowledge and joy of gardening.
I heard from several gardeners in Ohio and Pennsylvania that it was a challenging year. So, when I hear some people didn't even get one ear of corn or someone else says their tomatoes rotted, I remind myself not to be a perfectionist. My garden was good. I was hoping for "over abundance," but "good" is good ;)
Cabbage, peppers, eggplant, beans are still producing. A few tomato plants by the patio deck are rippening. I started four tomato plants for indoors for the winter. One already has blossoms.
The apple tree took a holiday this year and didn't produce much fruit. The two pear trees, on the other hand, took up the slack. Mom & I have been peeling, coring and freezing pint after pint of pears to use in making pear butter and bread over the winter.
I cleaned up the potting shed garden and hauled the corn stalks to the back compost pile. There were 14 pie pumpkins in this garden. In the next few days, they will be cooked down and made into pumpkin pie filling.
Lots to do as gardening in Zone 5 wraps up.
Today, all three vegetables thrive in Zone 5; although they are most often planted separately.
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini with skin (if using large zucchini, cut in half and scoop out the seeds before grating).
In large bowl, beat eggs well. Blend in sugar. Mix together baking soda, powder, salt cinnamon and flour. Add oil and mixed dry ingredients into egg/sugar mixture. Blend well but do not over beat. Add zucchini, nuts, raisins. Divide mixture into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350. Let cool 10 minutes on rack before removing bread from pan.
For a bread that is more moist, increase zucchini by another 1/2 cup.
This bread freezers well.
"Small Sugar" pumpkins grow to 5-8 lb.
They are a perfect pie pumpkin: fine grain, stringless and sweet.
One pumpkin has already started to ripen.
"Silver Queen" sweet corn.
We've been waiting and waiting on you my lovely!
This variety is very sweet & white. Ears grow to 8-9".
Variety freezes well too.
We had our first tomatoes yesterday - a lovely onion/tomato/parsley salad.
This is the "Super Beefsteak."
Fruit is smooth, meaty and averages 1 lb. each.
Tomatoes were started from seeds, indoors in late March.
It has been an odd summer. I have heard some people describe what we, in zone 5, are going through as the "year of no summer."
While we have had a few days in the high 80's. We haven't had our typical hot, soupy Ohio weather. The tomatoes for one are lagging behind because the days have been mild and the evenings cool. I have over 30 plants filled with small, green tomatoes.
On the other hand, the zucchini and yellow squash are producing. We're making/freezing zucchini bread as fast as we can for the long winter ahead. For now, we're enjoying fresh, sauteed zucchini with frozen tomatoes (from last year's garden), onion and yellow squash.
The green beans are finally picking size. The yellow are almost ready.
We've had several yummy meals of stuffed green peppers too. The leaf lettuce is still growing nicely as are the green onions.
We're just really, really anxious for some sweet, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. Ditto for the sweet corn!
When I was a child, the yellow crayon in my box of Crayolas was always a nub. I used to trade my blue or red for yellow. My suns were always big and the crayon on the paper was heavy to the point of being tacky. I just couldn't get enough of the color.
So of course, big, yellow sunflowers are planted in my garden. Some flowers, like the one pictured above, are volunteers from the bird feeders.
Sunflowers come in an assortment of colors and sizes. They are easy to grow and require no care. When the flower is spent, I dry out the seed heads, trim them down and hang them off the fence for the birds to peck at. Finches especially love the seed heads.
resembles a wild field. The effect is intentional.
The 'unkempt' appearance reminds me of the fields that grew
behind my childhood home near Lake Erie.
Ironically, it takes work to keep
the bed looking like a carefree field!
If left untended, the daisies and yarrow overtake everything else.
The clematis which grows in my garden is deciduous. Some clematis are evergreen. For the cool temperate species, the blooming starts in June. Its leaves drop in the fall. To keep the plant tidy, prune after blooming.
Hardy to Zone 5, my clematis grows in full sun and moist soil. It is doing even better this year now that the bittersweet has been pruned back to half its size.
One note of caution: All parts of the clematis are poisonous.
All of the seeds in this garden are from Burpee and all are from older seed lots. Knock on wood, I've had mostly success with these older seeds. This year, I was looking to save money where ever possible, so I used up what I had on hand.
Here's a closeup of one of the pinks (missing is its bottom petal which I broke off in trying to photograph the inner beard - my bad!).
Iris like full sun and well-drained soil. Iris should be separated every four or five years. I have never separated the cluster of purple and pink irises at the center of the rock garden. The rhizomes and blooms are healthy and not in need of thinning.
The only drawback to the cultivated bearded iris is that it blooms for around two weeks and then you have to wait another 50 for the show to return!
This is one of the three pots I filled with pansies for my smaller deck. I like to sit out in the early morning on the weekends or after work during the week.
Placing a piece of whimsy here and there is sheer indulgence. I get pleasure from looking at my creations, deadheading the flowers, giving them a drink.
All within an arms reach of my chair where I can keep an eye on the cats - especially Noll - as they too enjoy the gardens and catnip standing within their reach.
The hollow, tubular leaves grow 30-50 cm in height. Cuttings can be made 3 times a year (cut close to the ground). My patch of chives is over 10 years old and requires minimal care. The mild, onion-flavored leaves can be used fresh or dried.
My favorite way to use chives is freshly snipped and added to scrambled eggs. I also like fresh chives on baked potatoes with sour cream and in vegetable soup.
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is an evergreen perennial ground cover that grows well in poor soil as long as the soil is well-drained. Candytuft is a member of the mustard family.
One large, low growing mound is at the sunny front leading border of the narrow bed between the foundation and the deck. The candytuft is in the same bed as the grape hyacinths.
Hardy to Zone 5, candytuft is slow spreading and grows from 8 to 12" tall. In mid-spring, its small, bright white blooms open up and last for weeks.
In many ways, Candytuft reminds me Edelweiss. It is one of my favorite plants.