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September 24, 2022

Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, September 24


Happy Fall, everybody! The equinox arrived in the USA on Thursday. It's a nice time to go for a walk or do some fall clean-up. Have you got things to harvest in your garden?

Fall Flowers

Hi KT:

Since my wife got into flower arranging a couple years ago, I have been trying to grow more things that she can cut for bouquets. This was my first year attempting to grow dahlias. The few that survived have been beautiful. Here are a couple pictures.

Frankly, I'm lucky that any dahlias survived to produce blooms. I planted them too soon, then the rains came, so they sat too long in cold, wet soil when they weren't supposed to be planted until the soil was warm and dry. Then when some of them started sprouting, the deer ate most of those. The few that survived to this point were not staked, so they started falling over. But my wife loves the ones that ran the gauntlet of my gardening mismanagement and survived, so having learned from my mistakes, I am promising her a better crop next year. I'm also fencing in the flower beds to keep the cloven-hooved rodents out.

All the best,

Cumberland Astro

Dahlia - 1ca.jpg

Dahlia - 2ca.jpg

Good time of year for flower arranging. Beautiful flowers, well presented.

* * *

Edible Gardening/Putting Things By

We got a bleg last week and a response this week:

Black JEM refers to "jars of pesto". If that person has a secret to canning their pesto, do you think they would share? I've frozen my pesto in various forms and accomplished nothing more than wasting ingredients. I would offer a trade for the information or just the gratitude of a grateful gardener.

Thanks! Becky, crazy pesto lady

From Black JEM:

Katy, You had asked for some additional Pesto information, so I thought I would share some pictures, recipe, and our freezing/storage info. Here is the ingredient list - and it makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto. And you will see in the pictures that we had a lot of basil. Anyway, this is Mrs. Black JEM's recipe - I am responsible for growing the basil and flat leaf parsley. I am also responsible for shredding the cheese - get the good stuff in blocks or wedges and hand grate it.

Anyway, here is the ingredient list:

3 to 4 Tbs. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
2 to 3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
10 to 15 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

So here are her directions for putting it all together. Of course you start with basil - and I have Pesto Party plants in my herb garden - 6 of them, and they produce like crazy and are super slow to bolt - it's her favorite for Pesto, and we've tried a few. This was just form one pesto making session - and we did this a total of three times. Look at the basil - and some flat leaf parsley thrown in.


Preparing the basil. Remove basil leaves from the stems. Wash and dry the leaves. I like to use a salad spinner to get the majority of water out of the leaves and then I lay my basil leaves out on paper towels to dry while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. {Do the same with the parsley - B. JEM}


Preparing the pine nuts. I like to toast my pine nuts on the stove top in a non-stick pan over low heat. Continuously stir and don't walk away because this process happens pretty quickly, and you dont want to end up with burned pine nuts.


{ I mentioned the cheese - I'm just adding the pictures because it sure looks nice - you've already grated it as you got ingredients ready, same way for each of the two cheeses}


In a blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts and garlic. Process to chop coarsely. Add about half of the basil and process to chop coarsely. Add the remaining basil, the parsley and olive oil and process until a thick green sauce forms. If the sauce is too thin, add more basil or parsley; if it is too thick, add more olive oil.

Add the cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Process briefly.

{Now to answer Becky's question - this is all we do - and perhaps these ingredients are a bit different than hers, there seems to be a bunch of different pesto recipes, and maybe that impacts how it stores.}

Pour into a glass jar or other container and top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the surface from discoloring. A four ounce Ball jar is enough pesto to toss with a pound of pasta. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. {I swear this is it - we use the ball jars to store it, we do not "can it". Just fill and put a lid on and twist a on a ring to keep it sealed - here is just one picture of some of the pesto bounty.}


" You can also freeze your pesto in Ball jars. Frozen pesto should be defrosted at room temperature. This recipe is concentrated and you can add olive oil to the desired consistency when you are ready to use." {I use the cases the jars come in to act as an easy storage aid in the freezer - this stuff keeps a long time, well over a year, and the pesto crazy daughter loves it, some of it journeyed with her to college this year, we certainly had enough. Here is a picture of the stash in the freezer.}

I think that about covers it. I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but I love growing things that people I love, love to eat. If there is anything I failed to explain, let KT know, I'll be happy to go to our family pesto expert for the answer.


Thanks for all the details and the great photos! And the cooking tips.

* * *

Strawberry under a microscope

strawbry under micro.jpg

* * *

Ah, Nature

MarkY sent in some deer fencing details:

Hope these pics are adequate.

Hog fence below on 5' T posts. Chicken wire above on 1/2 stick of 1/2" conduit. We built with baling wire, and reinforce with zip ties.
It's suggested you string ribbons all around, so the fence can be seen in low light. Ours is about gone.

Our garden is 260 feet all around. If we had realized the electric fence was so easy, we may have never built the fence. Dunno. Now we have both.

Solar powered controller. Plug in is about $100 cheaper, but we have no electric out in that front field. Supposedly will run 5 miles of fence (or 5 strands 1 mile).

Note okra in background.

We're gonna expand the electric fence to encompass and protect our small fruit trees. T posts and wiring gets expensive if you start doing a layout for every tree, and maintenance becomes an issue, cause you have to make provisions to open the fence to weed, mulch, etc..

deer fence.jpg


electric fencing.jpg

Wow. Very useful information! Thanks!

* * *

Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

If you would like to send photos, stories, links, etc. for the Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, the address is:

ktinthegarden at g mail dot com

Remember to include the nic or name by which you wish to be known at AoSHQ, or let us know if you want to remain a lurker.

* * *

Week in Review

What has changed since last week's thread? Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, September 17

Any thoughts or questions?

I closed the comments on this post so you wouldn't get banned for commenting on a week-old post, but don't try it anyway.

* * *

Botany Bonus:

Colchicum makes leaves in spring, flowers in fall. More at the link. Most of them are poisonous.


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posted by K.T. at 01:23 PM

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