17 hours ago
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's that time of year when you finally have to give in and pick anything left in your garden before the frost gets to it. We rake in the leaves, cut down the dying stalks of summer flowers, mulch the flower beds and lay aside the autumn harvest for the long winter months. That last part isn't as important as it was a hundred years ago, but the sentiment and idyllic motions of a harvest are just as, if not more appealing now that it isn't necessary. Most days I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing on the computer at work, I forget where I am. I exist only on the interblag. I love going out into the garden in the evening just to water my herbs and flowers. I need that quiet physical connection with reality. So it makes me sad that part of my day is gone for the next six months, but this time of year, at least, I get to enjoy the literal fruit of my summer labors.
I attempted raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and eggplant this year. Lessons learned: raspberries like sunshine, but not too much of it. Strawberries are susceptible not only to birds, but to potato bugs. Blueberries need acidic soil and probably won't grow in Utah, but I won't know until next summer if it survives not only the cold but the soil here. Tomato plants should not be bought at Walmart. I have no lesson from the eggplant. If someone wants to clue me in as to how to make your eggplants grow bigger than the "egg" in their name, please let me know.
Herbs: the best part! I have a sage bush that is threatening to take over now. The oregano and thyme will be replanted next year so as not to be literally overshadowed by the sage. The rosemary, parsley, lemon balm and bergamot grew beautifully and without reserve. My basils, sweet and cinnamon, grew just fine until October, when they up and died in the space of just a few days :S. This is the first year I've tried chamomile, and while the plant grew great, I only got two almost flowers. They never actually bloomed. Another mystery if anyone has an answer for me. And, the most varieties of mint I've tried yet: 7! Apple mint, pineapple mint, peppermint, lime mint, chocolate mint, grapefruit mint, and spearmint. The differences between them all are very subtle, but you do notice the undertones that their names imply. Lovely!
As you might have noticed, I love tea. Drying my herbs for tea, then, is the obvious result. I got some other herbs and berries from Whole Foods and in the next few weeks I'll be making and testing homemade teas to give to friends for Christmas. Friends that are close by, I hope you like the teas, and friends far away, if you want a couple tea bags I could mail them to you. Let me know if you want them :).