September Gardening 2017

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

As the summer ends, I have had some successes and failures in my vegetable garden. The sugar snap peas, which are normally so easy to grow, were a complete failure due to a pheasant that picked out and ate every seed I planted.  (Next year I will have to cover the rows with Micromesh cloth until the plants are well established.) The same pheasant also ate all the bean seeds and even the leaves off of the pac choi. He left the Swiss chard alone and I was able to save the zucchini by putting large plastic water bottles, with the bottoms and tops cut off, over the seeds and emerging plants to protect them.

Melie’s artichokes. Click image to enlarge.

I have harvested enough zucchini to wear out my family’s tolerance for it and have made relish with the leftovers! The broccoli was a huge success and my grandchildren loved cutting off the heads and enjoyed eating it fresh from the garden. One new vegetable I tried to grow was artichoke. I bought four plants at Gilberties in Westport and much to my delight one of the plants has produced four small artichokes! The other two surviving plants hopefully will produce some as well. The most prolific plants this year were the tomatoes and the garden is overflowing with them.

Melie’s tomatoes. Click image to enlarge.

My husband’s favorite salad is sliced tomatoes and red onions and he has certainly had his fill this summer. I have cut up the rest of the tomatoes and cooked them in a 250-degree oven for three to five hours. Once cooked, I put the roasted tomatoes in small plastic bags, which I place in the freezer. The defrosted tomatoes are delicious to add to soups, stews and tomato sauce through out the year. This oven process is far easier and tastier than canning the tomatoes. I have also made a tomato pie, which is a delicious vegetable side dish.

Roasted Tomatoes

  • Halve or quarter tomatoes
  • Remove the seeds – leave the skin
  • Place flesh side up on a parchment lined baking sheet with sides to catch the juice
  • Season with olive oil, peeled garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper
  • Roast in a 275-degree oven for three to five hours
  • Once finished and cooled, place in plastic bags and freeze for later use in sauces, stews or soups

Tomato Pie

1 pre baked pie shell
5 tomatoes
1 Onion
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon of oregano, basil, salt & pepper

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees
  • Slice all five tomatoes into thin slices and salt them to remove excess water dry with paper towel
  • Sauté the onion
  • Layer the bottom part of the piecrust with tomato slices and sauté onions
  • Sprinkle salt & pepper & herbs on top
  • Sprinkle cheese over the first tomato layer and repeat layering until the pie is filled
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. The tomatoes should be slightly firm in the middle.
  • Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 15 min and serve

Hopefully, the vegetable garden will continue to produce beets, lettuce, arugula, turnips and swiss chard through out the fall and I might just try to sneak in some peas again and hope the pheasant has had his fill of picking out the seeds!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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