Late Summer Gardening and a Recipe

by Oak Hill Studio

Volunteer petunias from last year's flower pot planting.

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.” ~Sir Francis Bacon

The sun made its way out from behind grey clouds that gradually broke apart and shifted off the eastern coast this morning.   Thankfully the air was crisp and cool and it felt wonderful to throw open the windows throughout the house first thing.  After two days of soaking rains, the plants in the yard and garden have received a needed boost, and the garden vegetables are filling out and ripening nicely.  I love this season of harvest.  We are blessed with such a variety of tastes and colors; the bounty of God’s goodness is plainly evident just outside the door!

Of course the weeds took full advantage of the rainwater, and although they really weren’t interfering too much, for me,  they pretty much ruin what would normally be a pleasant garden experience.  I didn’t set out to clean up the entire garden, but one weed led to the next….and two (very full) wheelbarrow dumps later, the garden was looking much better. Though as you can see in the photo, our tomato plants do have some blight, likely due to several days of hot dry weather. Thankfully, I think it’s probably late enough in the season that the tomatoes won’t be affected.  So far so good!

Having already dug up the onions a few weeks ago and with the weeds cleared away from that particular area, there was a nice wide empty space that I decided was perfect for a fall crop.  I planted lettuce, Italian parsley, and turnips.  I don’t always have great luck with planting lettuce from seed, but that may be due to spring conditions (cold soil, cool days, etc.)  At least I’m hoping so.  I find that supermarket lettuce just doesn’t have the flavor of homegrown.  And, I like the idea of making full use of the growing season and eating fresh as long as possible before cold weather brings an end to summer.

Soon, I will pull out one of my favorite recipes that is a nice blend of August vegetables–Summer Bounty Ratatouille. 4 slices bacon, diced, 1/2 med eggplant cut into 1/2″ cubes, 1 med onion-cut into wedges, 1 med zucchini-sliced, 2/3 C wheat germ, 2 C grated Monterey Jack cheese, 2 med tomatoes, sliced, 1 8-oz can tomato sauce, 1/4 C water, 1 tsp oregano leaves-crushed, 1/2 tsp marjoram leaves-crushed, 1/4 tsp rosemary leaves-crushed, 1/4 tsp salt.  Fry bacon til almost crisp.  Add eggplant, onion, and zucchini.  Saute til eggplant is tender (10 min.)  Place 1/2 vegetables in 4 individual casserole bowls, 1 1/2-2 C each.  Spoon wheat germ over vegetables.  Sprinkle w/ 1/2 the cheese.  Top w/ tomatoes and remaining vegetables.  Combine tomato sauce, water, and seasonings.  Pour over vegetables.  Sprinkle w/ remaining cheese.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for approx. 20 min (or until hot and bubbly.)  Enjoy!