By Phyllis Galowitz
It’s almost September. Summer is nearly gone. It’s flying by much too quickly.
I’m still enjoying the late summer garden in mid-August; the phlox, in brilliant red-violet and snowy white, the black-eyed Susans, bright yellow, the coneflowers, and oh—the lavender! All the rain that fell in early August is giving us lots of green beans and wax beans. Every evening, just before dinner, I pick a handful of each and cook them together for just four minutes in the microwave, with a tablespoon of water. A little pat of butter, a dash of sea salt, and some fresh black pepper, and they are a beautiful and delicious part of our meal. Sometimes I add a few sugar snap peas after removing the beans from the microwave. With the lid on, the peas steam in just half a minute. The shades of green and yellow look gorgeous on the plate. Ruby-stemmed Swiss chard has been quite successful in my garden, too; I use the young leaves in salad and as the plant matures, I cut it to the ground and sauté the chopped stems in a little bit of olive oil until they’re almost tender and then add the chopped leaves for another minute. The whole time is not more than four minutes and it’s another vegetable that makes a colorful plate.
It was time to harvest the basil so I made lots of pesto, using the parsley growing next to it and some walnuts, instead of pine nuts, olive oil and a little bit of butter, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic. I gave some to Joe, our neighbor, who gives us so much. Try pesto baked on fish, added to pasta, tossed in a salad, and on vegetables. It’s delicious.
Tomatoes are just beginning to show a slight blush, but with these cool nights I worry that they won’t ripen before the frost. Well, fried or stuffed green tomatoes are wonderful, too. Last year I remember running outside at the prediction of the first frost, to pick every green tomato on the vine, to ripen in the house. They did but were just not as good as the vine-ripened ones. It pays to cover them in the evening when the first frost is expected, and uncover them in the late morning, when surely it will be warm and sunny again and the tomatoes will continue to ripen. We usually get a final spurt of warm, sunny days in late September and then I might even get some more zucchini.
My vegetable garden does not get enough sun and it’s the only place I can have it, so I can’t expect too much. Salad greens grow well, and so does spinach. I should plant some right now for a fall crop. Every year, I say, no more vegetables, but then I think of the satisfaction of picking and eating my own, organic, delicious vegetables, and there I go, throwing more seeds in the ground!
I always enjoy my walk on Route 28, in the morning, watching the succession of wildflowers, listening to the sound of Bryant’s brook, sometimes quietly flowing, sometimes after a heavy rain, tumbling and roaring, as it overflows its banks. The birds sing their morning song. Friends and neighbors pass by in their cars and honk their horns. I can’t see who they are unless I recognize their car, but I wave anyway. Mel Ruff passes by, as he stops to put the mail in each box, and waves. It’s a beautiful time of the year and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it! ~