November has brought a swift wrap-up to much of the garden. The cold temperatures made sure all lingering warm-season edibles have bit the dust and the few cool-season edibles are no longer showing much growth. Additionally, the ornamental garden has reached its peak color and is now fading to muted form and color and will soon give way to the all engulfing cold of Winter.
Last Out -
The swift changes mean many tasks for the head gardener, me! But last week, during one of the rainy-windy afternoons, I decided to prolong my garden shut-down “to-dos” a bit longer and use the last of my San Marzano tomatoes that have been ripening in the window sill over the last couple of weeks. I made my last batch of marinara sauce with them and used my friend’s recipe that has turned into a favorite of the homemade marinara’s I’ve tried this year.
My San Marzano tomato was very prolific this year and of course there were many, many tomatoes yet to ripen when the frosty night-time lows hit. I brought many inside, ripened them in a South facing window and into the marinara sauce they went. In case you are still harvesting or ripening tomatoes inside and are interested in a marinara the recipe is below.
It is quite simple and I really prefer its flavor over other recipes that call for red wine, sausage/bacon fat or other ingredients that are supposed to add extra flavor.
A Friendly Marinara
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
32oz fresh tomatoes chopped - I use San Marzanos
2 dried bay leaves
In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute’ until the onions are translucent, about 10 min. Add celery, carrots, thyme, salt and pepper. Saute’ another 10 min. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered over low heat for about an hour. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once cooled I purée via the food processor. Of course you can skip this step if you like a chunkier marinara.
First In -
As last week progressed, the weather stabilized and I progressed into a state of mind of tackling garden shut-down “to-dos” though temps were cool. I had already received some motivation Tulips from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs!
I have never tried this grower before but have read good things about them. I ordered Tulipa ‘Orange Emperor’ and Tulipa ‘Fur Elise’. The first is a Fosteriana tulip and the latter a Greigii tulip. I’ve not grown either of these types of tulips before and am excited for more interesting foliage (mottled/striped leaves) as well as the luscious blooms.
So the first “to do” – get the new tulips in the ground! I planted the Tulip ‘Orange Emperor’ amidst euphorbia polychroma, calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ and veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’. If all is timed correctly I should have a cheery vignette of bright yellow, bright blue and carrot orange with a variety of green foliage come Spring.
When planting tulips, (see Tips for Tulips for more info) I try to always dig at least a 6 inch deep hole (deeper if possible, although that can be hard when planting under a tree) and put a little bone meal and compost/peat moss in the bottom before placing the bulb in the hole. I amend the unearthed soil with compost and then gently cover the bulbs to the surface level. Later, I throw a couple of inches of mulch over the top of all of the planted areas.
Getting the first tulips in the ground makes a gardener feel good. They are symbolic of the next Spring that is sure to come and they promise new-found life and beauty in the days to come. I believe this is what motivates gardeners far and wide to plant once again at the close of a growing season.
Now I need to get the rest of the Spring promises in the ground… And see all these lovely leaves? …Next task is to get the rake out and capture them into the composter. But that’s another topic for another time…
How about you? What do you do in the Fall to enhance your Spring-time delight? How do you motivate yourself to shut-down the garden if living in Zone 7 and colder? Do you have any tips for growing tulips?