From Mélie’s Garden
It is hard to believe that September is here – it always seems to quickly arrive when you are enjoying the summer! This year it has been such a joy for so many of us on the Island. Families have been reunited after sometimes months apart and it is sad to see them leave to go back to work and school. Many of us left will take comfort in having gardens to focus on as the days get shorter and cooler.
Tropical Storm Henri last week thankfully spared the island any serious damage, but there were some garden casualties. My sunflowers that were just starting to bloom broke in half, but the dahlias, not as tall and better tied up survived unscathed. I have two new Limelight Hydrangea Trees that I was particularly worried about, but mercifully they got through the wind and heavy rain in good shape. However, it is always a good idea to hose off any salt that may have accumulated on plants during the storm to prevent them from turning brown.
Happily, the vegetable garden wasn’t badly damaged. Tomatoes toppled over in their cages, but I was able to stand them back up and they are fine. There is an overabundance of tomatoes getting ripe at the same time, so I am going to slowly roast them to freeze for sauces and soups. I have found the recipe below works well.
- Halve and 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 place in plastic bags and freeze for later use in sauces, stews, or soups.
September is also a good time to transplant perennials and shrubs, so their roots can get established before the ground freezes.
Start to clean up and spray houseplants you may have summered outside and bring them in once evening temps hit 65 degrees to be safe. Last year I left a diseased gardenia plant outside until the beginning of November. It is quite large, and I was sick of hauling it in and out of the house, especially if it was sick. As the nights got consistently colder, I started to feel guilty and decided not to abandon it to the winter weather after all and we dragged the gardenia inside. This summer, we were rewarded with the most beautiful flowers on the plant! I think that by leaving it outside for so long all the scale and different pests it suffered from were killed in the cold. Once it started to put out leaves again inside in the spring, I gave the plant a good spray of Neem Oil and that seemed to have done the trick. It has so far remained totally pest-free.
And finally, this month make lists now of the plants you want to try next year and order spring bulbs and lilies to put in the garden later this fall. Those notes will be invaluable next spring to have once the gardening season starts up again.