Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Garden Is Boss

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
John Muir

FYI. My garden is boss. My boss. No, really. And I don't mean that like, "hey dude, my garden is boss!" -- like it's the best thing ever. Well, to me it is one of the best things ever--a huge blessing to have one--but what I mean is, my garden bosses me around! True story.

First, I'll back up to just a couple of days ago. It was Sunday. I woke up with a terrible pain in my left leg. Got on the treadmill--it eased up a bit, but two miles and a lot of stretching later, it still hurt. I stayed home. I went out to water the garden, not because I really felt like it, but because it hasn't hardly rained, and my garden was dry and calling for me to come water her. See? Bossing me around. There were things that needed to be picked, like tons of tomatoes...beautiful tomatoes...green peppers...jalapeno peppers...squash...herbs...and gorgeous zinnia flowers! Bouquets needed to be made! Salsa needed to be made. There is no putting off the putting up. When the peppers and tomatoes are fresh off the vine, this is when the salsa must be made. You can whine about it...moan and groan with your pulled muscle...but just like the Olympics you've got to suck it up and perform when it's time to go!

Me--on my way out to the garden.
"The sun shone down for a nearly a week on the secret garden. The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place."
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

You know, I'm a quote collector. I don't just collect any ole quote either--I'm kinda picky about my quote collection, and I have certain criteria and all that. But I'll tell you--there are a lot of beautiful, sentimental quotes about gardening and gardens. Really, really beautiful quotes. And in all the quotes I've ever ran across about gardens, no quote has ever said, my garden is my boss and it's wearing me out! Or, I'm so tired of watering! 

These seeds made me plant them and water them every day back in March!
"A seed is a magical thing. A fat, pale bean, a flint-hard corn kernel, the chafflike seed of marigold, or a speck from a coleus blossom--in the most important way these, and every other seed, are alike. Within their tiny, inert bodies, all of them hide an endless potential."
--Gardening from Seed, Martha Stewart

I just love that quote about seeds from my little paperback M. Stewart seed book. Maybe I like the fact that seeds are so magical, that they come to life and tell you what you are going to do for the next eight months! (planting, watering, transferring, hardening off, transferring again, watering, harvesting, watering, salsa-making) Pretty brilliant. So, back to my Sunday pain-in-the-leg gardening. I had no choice, I had to pick the peppers that day AND make the salsa. Fresh-off-the-vine ingredients wait for no man. And you do not want to go to the trouble of canning unless what you are canning is pretty amazing. So I put on my apron, stretched out some more, and went for gold.


Aren't they the cutest? Those Ball Elite Collection little fat jars never let me down. Once you've chopped everything (seeding and chopping the jalapenos is the worst for me) and cooked up the batch of salsa, the rest is easy breezy. We're talking 25 minutes in the waterbath canner, and you're done. With these little fat jars, the lids start sealing with that big "pop" sound before you can even get all the jars out of the canner! Sweet! Now here's a tip. When you are chopping up your peeled tomatoes, to go in the big salsa pot to cook, let some of that tomato juice drain off as you add the tomatoes and you'll have a chunkier salsa.

Uh oh...time for another beautiful garden quote.

"All gardening is landscape painting."
Alexander Pope

Now, as for all those cherry tomatoes--a friend of mine sent me a great recipe for oven-dried cherry tomatoes where basically, you put your little halved tomatoes in a sheet pan, drizzle them in olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt, bake at 270 degrees for one hour and 45 minutes. They should keep a couple of weeks in the fridge. I'm going to try it! Now here's another idea I came up with. Pretty simple.
All my cherry tomatoes are now in little snack bags, in the fridge, ready for everyone to grab for lunches and snacks! All you need is a little thing of ranch dressing, and you are good to go!

"In the garden, after a rainfall, you can faintly, yes, hear the breaking of new blooms."
Truman Capote

Alright, that's my last beautiful garden quote of the day...and I'll quit whining about my garden bossing me around. I think I struck gold with my first batch of 2012 salsa--it's fresh and chunky and sweet--and today, my leg feels great! I just did my little yoga-Pilates floor routine. I'm good! (too bad the Olympics is over)

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow


  1. I've had a few days away from blogland and I have missed your posts, my friend! I love reading about your garden and the wonderful tomatoes that you grow.

  2. You are so lucky to have such a lovely garden that is giving you wonderful produce. Fresh salsa sounds yummy! Glad you worked out that kink in your leg. Have a great week. Tammy