Garden Journey: Pickling and Plotting

I thought I'd do one last garden post while there's still a few things growing. I know I'm going to be daydreaming a lot about the garden this winter. This was definitely a year I learned a lot, and it will be nice to put what I learned into practice come next Spring, and this Fall as I prepare the garden for sleep with lots of food for the soil and blankets of leaves and hay. I'm hoping to double or triple the amount of garlic bulbs I put in this year. I had success with what I grew, but the supply is quickly dwindling. I've also started saving more seeds... cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and beans are what I've saved so far.  The sunflower seeds I saved last year did great. That small clump you see in the picture below are the ones I started late. There's another larger clump out of the picture frame that did awesome, but are beginning to fade. I love giant sunflowers, and the seeds we don't eat or save this year will make a nice treat for the birds and the chipmunks.

Miss Elsa is still my most dedicated little garden fairy. I love that she pays attention to the things that Mama picks, and those are the things that she picks too... handfuls of lettuce and kale are frequently handed to me... and often tomatoes, though I wish she didn't have a preference for the green ones. Next year their will definitely be a tiny garden just for the girls. I think cukes and carrots and flowers will be the main ingredients, for those are the things they love most in the garden.

 I gathered up what might be the last of the cukes and the summer squash. Some of those little yellow balls in the basket are actually lemon cucumbers... they are quite adorable, but didn't start producing until much later than the other variety I grew, so I'll probably skip them next year.

We have a jungle of nasturtiums still. This was my first time growing them and I had no idea they'd spread out as much as they have. It's nice to be able to pick flowers without worrying if you're taking too many. I think I'm going to try drying some to decorate, and I will definitely grow more next year.
I need to sit down and write up a garden report card, so I know what did miserably, what did well, and what was a huge waste of time. I also want to make some sketches of the current garden so I can rotate everything properly next year.

For now, the most pressing things are to get my cukes pickled and do something with all the wild apples we harvested from nearby. This recipe for chilled cucumber soup was delicious. I do love the garden, but it's also nice to live in a climate where the weather permits us to go inside and take a rest from it for a while.


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