Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, August 16, 2019

September Planting Tips and More.

Dear Folks,

Coming back from vacation it is a "work-in-progress" to get the coast and driving cobwebs out and pay attention to the garden!

Lots to share with you in this post!

Pictured - Before we left on vacation, I harvested and stored in the frig my last Black Tail Mountain Watermelon. Now, time to enjoy the fruit, and harvest and save the seeds.  I use an uncoated paper plate to dry (after rinsing) seed with a note as to date of harvest and type. Then I store the seeds in a dated and noted paper envelope.  When I'm finished with the paper plate - I use for multiple batches - I toss in the compost pile to break down.  I wound up crushing the fruit for juice and we are enjoying this refreshing drink.  I also froze some for later!  For a later project I want to develop cocktail bases with fruits and herbs which can be either non-alcoholic or alcohol added.  I would like to make a fun cocktail option, just because or when we entertain.  Lots of fun ideas on the internet for making an ice cubes out of the cocktail base and then adding spirit of choice or just seltzer (maybe one of the flavored ones I enjoy).

Speaking of Seeds - check out the information link below on The Great American Seed Up.

Georgia Candy Roaster Pumpkin
The good news is a new-to-me pea and new-to-me pumpkin [pictured at 7.5 weeks old - August 13th] plants have done well while I was gone.  The landrace apple tree in the ground is holding its own and the basil is nuts - but we desert gardeners know how much basil loves the heat here.

If you have not heard about the "Great American Seed Up" - you NEED to check this cool event out.  September 27-28, 2019 at The Uptown Farmers Market Location (you can hit the market 8 a.m. Saturday before the Seed Up starts at 10 a.m.)  Informative lectures and the opportunity to purchase seed very inexpensively. I have attended in the past and will again this year.  Pre-registration is recommended.  Click here.

I am sharing some intriguing food ideas below the gardening tips, so be sure and check them out.

One last thing before the September Planting tips - if you are interested in growing fruit trees here in the Valley - check out Urban Farm's upcoming fruit tree class - September 7th.  My friend, Greg Peterson just sent a note about this event - featuring a Dwarf Black Mulberry - which he suggests as a great option to oleanders and I would agree.  My two DBM will eventually provide hot weather shade, while in the meantime I love their spring fruit. Check it out here.


You can find my planting calendars and books on my website to have at your fingertips.

We are about half-way through our summer/monsoon time.  Time to start getting your fall garden in shape.

DON'T touch the tomato plants which are still doing well even if not producing.  You can give them a bit of a hair cut over several days starting the end of August to remove sun damage and you will get a fall crop of fruit.  The plants will start setting fruit as soon as our night time temps fall below 80 -- usually around the end of August.  Expect the first nice lower temps (some days falling below 90) by September 30.  Typically our 90+ days run from May 29 to September 29th. We can have the occasional 100 degree day even into October, so monitor the moisture needs of your gardens using the moisture meter.

Beans (bush and pole beans in first week in September at latest)
Bok Choy
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage, Ornamental
Endive (and Chicory)
Fennel, Leaf
Onions, Green
Kale, Ornamental Cabbage
Lettuce (leaf lettuce, arugula, mustard greens etc.)


Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons)
Marigold, Citrus Scented (Tagetes Nelsonii)
Marigold, Tangerine Scented (Tagetes Lemonii)
Scented Geraniums
Sweet Alyssum
Sweet William (Dianthus)

GARDEN TIPS for September
    Prepare soil for perennial planting -- edibles need superior draining soil, work in compost or well-rotted manure -- NEVER use fresh manure unless the garden will sit for 6-12 months before planting.  If your soil is already healthy, you can add a light dressing of compost or well-rotted manure.
    Cool weather annuals and biennials can be sown every 2-4 weeks (beginning in August) through end of December or January for a continuous crop through next spring.
    Make good use of your water meter during this temperature transitional month.
    Fertilize fruit trees now -- use Labor Day as the Target date --  (early September and again at Valentines Day and Memorial Day).
    For tomato plants which made it through the summer, over several days (do not do it all at once) give them a 1/3 - 1/2 hair cut and receive a fall crop of tomatoes through first frost.
    BERRY VINES - OCTOBER 1st: cut all canes, old and new, to ground after fruiting - commercial growers use this method.

Order your garlic and potato "starts" (heads and seed potatoes) for planting later on.  They can be stored in cool dry conditions until planting time.  October 1st for planting garlic - December 1-January 1st for potatoes.


Along with the pumpkin I sowed June 20th, I also sowed more crook neck squash, just for the heck of it.  We love this summer squash and I got a lot from the spring plants.

So, with the possibility of more squash in the back of my mind while vacationing, I read through the current Foodnetwork Magazine on my tablet and found a recipe for Fusilli with Zucchini Pesto - the zucchini IS the pesto!  Cool, using vegetables as a sauce - why not - we use tomatoes to make sauces.  Many years ago when I did not have enough basil to make the traditional type pesto, I added green olives to fill in and it worked so well I make that sometimes, still, even though I usually have enough basil.  Check out this fun recipe here.

Basic ingredients list: 
Kosher salt
1 pound fusilli (personally any textured pasta should work well)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 small zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), roughly chopped (half in pesto, half tossed at end)
Freshly ground pepper 
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for topping
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds, plus more for topping
1 clove garlic, chopped 

Are you growing coffee in your garden?  I have had a coffee tree for a couple of years and it died back this winter to the ground.  I was considering pulling it when I noticed NEW growth at the base last month!  Whooppee.   Since I don't expect flowers and fruit for a couple of years, I just was expecting to enjoy it coming back.

Then I discovered a tea made from coffee leaves!!!  Who knew!  And it is a "thing".  The friends we stayed with have a tea canister and following a chilly but wonderful whale watching I wanted a cup of hot tea (coffee is too strong for me in the afternoon) and came upon a tea "Wize Monkey" made from dried coffee leaves.  And it was intriguing, almost sweet, not tea like but not coffee like either.  I was fascinated.  Of course I did some checking and the processing seems like something I could do with my coffee leaves once the plant gets going well.  From the Wize Monkey site"Coffee Leaf Tea has been traditionally consumed for hundreds of years in Ethiopia and Indonesia for various reasons like "helping clear the cobwebs,"I need to check out their recipe section for ideas.

Another article on Coffee Leaf Tea

I love my Jasmine plants.  They flower several times a year and mostly I just enjoy their fragrance as I pass them by.  Sometimes adding to sun tea.  I received this fun sounding recipe for Jasmine Butter to use on toasts etc. and I thought it unique and fun enough you should read up on it.  This fun site finds great "OLD" recipes and tweaks them for modern use.  FYI - this is ONLY for the edible Flower Jasmine (Arabian - Jasminum Sambac) - although other really fragrant edible flowers could be substituted.  Click here to read.

Enjoy your garden and cooking with the bounty.

P.S.  I will be visiting family later this month for about a week, so I will answer questions when I return.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

If you enjoyed this post, please share and subscribe below by entering your email, to get all my posts!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Disclaimer: Clicking on links on this blog may earn me a small commission if you purchase something. Your price does not change.