I've been busy with the really fun part of gardening, which is harvest.
My favorite tomato is Sun Gold. One plant produces enough abundance of the small fruits for me to share. I enjoy them most after warming them on a sunny windowsill. Hmm. They make a very rich tomato soup, too. The photo shows ripe Sun Gold tomatoes.
Ernesto's windy remains knocked down my sunflowers. They had grown about 8-10 feet tall with beautiful flowers. The smaller, more delicate Lisianthus survived because I had staked them against wind earlier this summer. A lot of the sunflower blooms had this gorgeous color:
Something I still have trouble doing successfully is staking tomatoes. It's good that the plants' vigor has them spreading, but management is challenging. I'll keep trying.
My yellow butter squash is done, also due to Ernesto. They produced quite abundantly; 8-12 fruits came from each of the five plants. I gave quite a few to my parents who in turn shared some with their friends. A neighbor of theirs gave some to this mother, who served them in her restaurant in Millville.
And plenty of sweet peppers: green, orange with a little red. They were quite good. Still getting them, too.
The garlic chives, dill and basil are doing quite well. I'm always pleased with how easily most herbs grow. This year, I added purple-leaf basil alongside the sweet basil. Its pungent aroma reminds me of allspice.
Most of my lavender plants are in a container on my back porch and grew well, as usual. Dwarf lavender didn't grow well in containers (in 2005), strangely. So, I went back to a mix of "angustifolia" and "lady" this year. In-ground lavender has not thrived for me. I tested one seedling in my community plot this year, just to try it in a new place. It's not doing badly, but isn't very big.
Stevia is thriving next to my tropical houseplants in the bathroom. I had to bring it off my porch to keep aphids from eating it alive. Mint attracts aphids on my porch, too, and I didn't grow it this year.
Stevia is an import from South America and its leaves contain a substance that is used as a sweetener. I have no clue about how to use it. Wikipedia to the rescue, perhaps? If you read the wikipedia entry, you'll see that it mentions the Guarani.
As a side note, a good movie based on the interactions of 18th-century Spanish and Portugese with the Guarani is "The Mission" with Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons. Breathtaking cinemetography. I have had a copy of it in my DVD colletion for several years.
The red onions have quite a bite to them. The Kentucky Wonder pole beans have been yummy.
I don't think I'll grow black beans again, but you never know. See, the beans are inside the pod, just like peas, and they are quite small. The pod has a tough string, which makes eating it whole undesirable, even after cooking. Shelling them is a lot like eating a small crab; a lot of work with minimal yield. It may be most beneficial as a green manure crop.
My peas did really well, too. I intend to get a fall crop of those in with some gourmet lettuce. They'll be easy to take care of and good companions for my "bright lights" Swiss Chard, which grows from frost to frost (spring to autumn). Swiss chard photo below is "Bright lights".
Trek-geek alert: I wish I could say I discovered this website, but I have to credit a coworker. It's really funny -- if you know Star Trek, especially the classic series from the '60s.