Today, I cleaned up my back porch. It is not completely ready for winter but almost. A couple of weeks ago, I brought the rosemary plants inside and moved the lavender to the back hallway to overwinter. I will also overwinter the sage in the back hallway but toss the thyme. There are still flowering cosmos stalks in some containers on the porch, and I will need to do a final sweep after the maple lost all its leaves. And I plan to cover the folding table during the winter, but I currently still us it. I still have nasturtiums and parsley growing. Once everything has died back, I plan to cover the soil in the larger containers with pine branches to deter the blue jays from burying their peanuts and acorns (I currently deter them from making their usual mess by sticking barbecue skewers in the soil of the empty containers). I am looking forward to sitting on the bench with a cup of tea and a warm blanket enjoying the afternoon sun on warmer days.
Yesterday, I harvested the lemongrass on my back porch. Back in June, I had purchased a pack of lemongrass at the supermarket and rooted two of the stalks in water for a couple of weeks (the other stalks did not have enough stem left to root) before I planted them in a container. To harvest, I first cut the leaves off, about two inches below where they were branching off the stem. The leaves are super sharp, so wearing gloves was a must.
I then took the outer leaves off, separating the inner greener parts from the outer somewhat drier leaves.
I washed both sets of leaves and left them to dry overnight on a kitchen towel. The leaves are not as razor-sharp and easier to work with if they wilt a bit overnight. I then harvested the stalks and cleaned them as well.
This morning, I made the leaf bundles. Those will be used for tea and to flavor soups.
I am very happy with this little back porch experiment and can’t wait to use the lemongrass in the kitchen. It smelled to good! I will grow (more!) lemongrass again next year and also try to grow ginger.
I had harvested a ton of basil from my garden two days ago but only this morning found the time to turn it into pesto. Some of the leaves had wilted a bit, but overall, storing the basil wrapped in dry paper towels in a produce bag in the fridge worked very well. I just washed the leaves and dried them well and then processed them with olive oil and salt using my stick blender. As usual, I did not add garlic, cheese or nuts to my “pesto”. I find it more versatile this way. And it also keeps better in the freezer.
Today, I spent a few hours in the garden weeding (in particular mint and those pesky Jerusalem artichokes that have been taking over the fence area of my plot). I filled two lawn bags with mostly Jerusalem artichokes, yikes! I also planted four basil seedlings that I had rooted from cuttings a couple weeks before and sowed cilantro and two rows of beets (Chiogga and Golden). I had to take out the bush beans as they were completely destroyed by the resident rabbit and planted cilantro in their place. Oh well.
To clarify: The Green Zebra is my first ripe tomato of the year. The others are from a plot neighbor in the community garden whose plot I am watering while they are on vacation :).
Not sure what to do with all those zucchini. I donated a few to the Jamaica Plain community fridge a couple of days ago. Might do the same with this batch. I clipped some basil stems in the hope they might re-root so I can plant them for a fall harvest. Fingers crossed.
I love all the flowers on my porch this summer. These here are cosmos Rubenza and Bright Lights. I will definitely move to exclusively herbs and flowers next year. Almost there: For vegetables, I currently only have one Thai pepper and some chard and lettuce growing on my back porch. None of them are doing particularly well. Next year, I will do only spring vegetables (radishes and salad greens) and then only herbs and flowers in the summer and fall.