Autumn garden

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(HOST) Commentator Edith Hunter observes that as the gardening season winds down, so do the chores, the harvest –
and the gardener.

(HUNTER) This year I decided that I could keep up with the produce, but not with the weeds. The garden, therefore,is not
a thing of beauty, but the harvest is.

I’ve picked the last of the corn and frozen it. While picking the “nubbins” I stumbled over the pie pumpkins that I had planted between the corn rows, and began bringing them in.

As I sat resting before deciding what to attack next, I watched what must be the third generation of cabbage butterflies flitting around the cabbages and broccoli. Isn’t it too late to lay eggs?
The broccoli plants are taller than my waist, but are finally producing large heads.

The goldenrod is growing all along the garden fence, and I see a monarch butterfly nectaring on the flowers. This year, for the first time in three years, I raised a couple of monarchs. I was among the doom sayers who thought they might not come back because of BT corn and the destruction of the oyamel fir trees in their sanctuaries in Mexico. But they are back. May their numbers increase.

The cucumbers are still producing but at a slower rate. I’ve given up picking the bush beans. I have already frozen too many. I’ll throw them in the chicken yard, a few plants at a time.

So far I have dug two rows of potatoes, the red Pontiac and the
red Norland. For some mysterious reason the Norland plants died down early so I dug them first. The potatoes are small, but nice. Now I’m digging the Pontiac and they are huge. The Yukon Gold will come next and finally the Kenebec.

I pull ten leeks, which with ten potatoes, two onions, a half a pound of butter, and two quarts of chicken broth will make a double batch of vichyssoise. I’ll freeze this to enjoy during the winter when I add the milk.

I had so many cherry tomatoes I’ve tried an experiment and cooked some down and canned them skins and all. I’ve done 24 quarts of large tomatoes and made 12 pints of spiced tomato jam.

And those strawberries!! Fifty plants of everbearing take their name seriously!! I have frozen 24 quarts to be made into jam when I can find the time.

When the winter squash and pumpkins are harvested, the vines and row markers removed, Graham will come out with an old mower and slay the weed dragons. The garden, and I, will rest.

This is Edith Hunter on the Center Road.

Writer and historian Edith Hunter lives in Weathersfield Center. She spoke from our studio in Norwich.

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