Monday, October 18, 2010

Keeping Color in Your Garden

You don’t have to put your whole garden to bed for the winter. There are some plants that will continue to flower late into the fall – some all winter long!

Snapdragons will survive light frosts and even a light snow (as will the mums): October2010 181

Violas flower all winter long: October2010 166

Pansies are another flower that will bounce right back after being dug out from under a foot or two of snow: October2010 169

Vinca minors stay green all winter long. They bloom late in the fall and early in the spring. October2010 188My frugal tip is to go buy these flowers, as well as spring bulbs, on the day of the first snow when all of the stores and nurseries mark them 75% – 90% off. I store them in the garage until the snow melts. Once the ground warms enough to dig in it, I plant the annuals and bulbs. They have plenty of time to adjust before the next snow and the bulbs will still bloom on time, even if you plant them a couple of weeks late. You can also save the bulbs and force them for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.

This post is linked to Bloomin’ Tuesday and Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eggplant Rice Bake

October2010 164 My one Hansel Eggplant bush has been a powerhouse performer this year! It has already provided over 30 fruit and it continues to flower and produce more. Since the temperatures have been dropping below 40 degrees at night, I moved it from the raised bed garden and to my container garden. This allows me to move it, along with the peppers and tomatoes, indoors at night, so the plants will continue to produce fresh vegetables for my family. This is my first time including eggplant in my container garden, so I am looking forward to seeing how it does over the winter. I have been very impressed with this compact little plant and will definitely  include Hansel Eggplant in my garden next year!

One of my favorite ways to use eggplant is in Eggplant Rice Bake. It is a hearty meatless dish and since I use vegetables and herbs from the garden, it is fairly inexpensive to make.


2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup squash puree (or cottage cheese)
splash of tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons diced bell pepper
3 cups diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups eggplant, chopped
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Place a splash of olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, and celery. Cook over a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, spices, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncover to cook off excess liquid (about 5 minutes). October2010 212

Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix rice with vegetables puree and press half of it into the baking dish. Layer with half of the tomato mixture. Add half of the squash and eggplant, then cover with half of the mozzarella cheese. October2010 214 Repeat layers of the rice, tomato mixture, eggplant and squash, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
October2010 218Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.
October2010 221 Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Some more of our favorites recipes using Eggplant:

Eggplant Pizza Bites
Angel Hair Pasta with Garden Vegetables
Spicy Sesame Stir-Fry

To see how other gardeners are using their eggplant, visit Grow.Eat.$ave at $5 Dinners.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It’s Beginning to Look Like Fall

But Just barely!

My little pumpkin was thrilled to finally be able to harvest his “baby plumpkins”. He carried them around all day: September2010 165

We are acquiring quite a collection of pumpkins on our porch. The porch is shady and protected from the elements, so I use it to store our pumpkins as they are harvested (except for my baking pumpkins which go directly to the kitchen!). The pumpkins add some fall color which we are definitely lacking! October2010 123 We have had a warm, wet autumn. That, combined with lots of evergreens on our property, means we are enjoying a very green fall. Here is the only tree that is acknowledging the season: October2010 122

Are the colors changing in your gardens yet?

To view more gardens, visit Bloomin’ Tuesday at MsGreen“thumb”Jean and Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Gladioli are Finally Blooming!

October2010 049

Some of my gladiolus bulbs are finally blooming! We had a long winter and a harsh spring, so I couldn’t put my gladiola bulbs in the ground until June, thus the late appearance.

In areas 6 and below, the gladiolus corms have to be dug up before the first frost and can’t be planted until after the last frost which doesn’t give them very much time to grow. They need at least 90 days to root, grow, bloom and store energy for the next year, so we cut it close each summer!

We have received a lot of rain which is causing the flowers to become heavy and topple over, so I have cut many of the stems and am enjoying them inside. I have not cut the foliage though. The plants need it to store energy for next year and I need it to remember where the corms are planted. :-)


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The cosmos are enjoying the cool, rainy weather: October2010 052

We are going to have a plentiful harvest of Heritage Raspberries this year: October2010 054 Every branch looks like that! I can’t wait to get those berries in my kitchen!

The Everbearing Strawberries are living up to their name: October2010 045 I do believe there are more pies and jams in our future. And hopefully there will be more flowers as well!

How are your gardens doing this fall?

To view beautiful gardens from around the world, visit Flaunt Your Flowers Friday at Tootsie Time.