Carolee's Herb Farm

Carolee's Herb Farm

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September E-Newsletter 2015

   Old weather lore says that “Whatever the weather on the first day of September, the rest of the month you’ll see!”  It was sunny and dry, and that’s the way the month has been, beautiful autumn days with just enough rain to keep the plants fairly happy.  I’ve spent most of the month in the new potager, spreading mulch, filling the raised beds with soil, trenching for chicken wire, and “decorating” the inside of the Lady Cottage. Plus I’ve reclaimed a neglected garden, done couple of shows, given a speech in Ohio, ordered my fall bulbs, planted seeds and lots of garlic, set up an area in the basement for wintering plants, and worked on the layouts & planted the flower border along the potager front.  We also took a trip to Canton, OH with David’s MG group, and visited the largest Kroger in the nation (see article below.)  And, I’ve written several posts for the new blog!  It’s been a wonderful beginning to the autumn season.  I even took time to take down the spring (yes, spring!) décor on my kitchen shelf and put up the fall leaves, my brown tea pot collection, and the colorful wooden pumpkins my dad made for me years ago.
     Although we continue to have some very warm days, there’s no doubt about it…..autumn has arrived.  The lawn is littered with fallen black walnuts, the air has a bit of chill, and the jeweled colors of the annuals have intensified to attract the last of the pollinators.  Grasses are dropping seeds and goldenrod explodes with color.
     It’s time to complete the harvest from the herb garden.  The cupboards are filling with jars of dried herbs, herb blends, and tea mixtures that will be savored throughout the cold months ahead.  They will provide inspiration for dozens of new recipes and flavor combinations, cold remedies and fragrant baths, all conjuring up memories of summer that will make winter bearable.

Upcoming Events:
      Monday, Oct. 5:  Herb Society of Central Indiana’s annual “Education Night.”  This evening’s theme is “Soup and Spice Makes Everything Nice.”  There will be speakers, tastings, handouts, a make-it-take-it craft, and lots of wonderful herbal goodies.  This is open to the public and FREE!  6:45 at the corner of 106th and College Ave. in Carmel, IN.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG:  It is amazing to me that I can write a blog, and people in France, England, Australia, Finland, Germany, and Italy read it.  I’m not so surprised at Germany and Italy, because my daughters live there, but the others were a surprise.  I’m having great fun writing this blog, and hope you’ve taken a few minutes to read any of the ten posts.  I especially enjoy your comments.  I’ll be writing about the new potager, what I’m growing there, what vegetables are most productive and tasty, gardening events and trends, books I’m reading, nature, good gardeners that I meet….well, just whatever I find interesting that I think might interest you, too!  I’ll introduce you to passionate local farmers and suppliers whenever and wherever I find them.  So, check it out….and if you enjoy it, spread the word, and share the link.


     The Kosciusko Co. Master Gardeners’ “Gateway to Gardening,” was a lovely fall symposium with a full day of speakers and a tasty lunch.  It was a beautiful day, and a terrific location, at the WCC in Warsaw, IN.  I had a huge booth space!  Thanks to everyone who made my day there so pleasant.  If you missed it, watch for this group’s event next year.

      The Herb Garden at the Toledo Botanic Gardens has been one of my very favorite herb gardens in the entire country for years.  David has lots of relatives there, and every time we visit, I insist on going to the gardens.  I’m never disappointed, because they are always beautiful and inspiring. 

This time I paid special attention to the borders in the herb garden, since I’ll be planting all new herbal borders inside my potager.  I love the espaliared fruit trees.Here are some photos of the herb garden.

     I was delighted to speak to the Maumee Valley Herb Group, and to meet many of the members that maintain their special Herb Garden. 

And, the refreshments were outstanding, not to mention beautiful.

September in the Garden
It’s a good time to collect seeds and store them for next year’s garden.  
It’s also a good time to take advantage of season-end sales, and stockpile mulch to put on the garden after the ground freezes.
It’s time to plant garlic.
It’s a great time to make a coldframe, so you can plant late-season salad crops that will last far into frosty weather with that little bit of protection a coldframe provides.  You can also use it to pretreat bulbs for forcing, and you'll be thrilled to have it to get a jump start next spring!

Kroger’s Largest Store
     We took a weekend visit to southern Indiana to see family, friends, and some beautiful Hoosier landscape.  Plus, I made a brief stop at the newly updated Kroger store in Bloomington.  It’s one of those huge, amazing, but exhausting stores that I normally avoid, but I went out of curiosity. 

Upon entering, the huge Halloween display covers a mammoth area.  I zeroed in on my four major interests.  First, the tea offerings, where I didn’t find anything I hadn’t seen before, but it was impressive to see them all in one store. 

Next, the foreign foods section, where I was delighted with the offerings from Britain, including Spotted Dick and Bird’s Custard Powder, but very disappointed at little from Germany, Italy, or France. 

The cheese displays cheered me, and had I been coming straight home I would have yielded to temptation.  In the produce area, there is a table growing mushrooms, where shoppers can pluck the cute brown buttons right from the “soil.” 

The bulk area will bring me back for holiday shopping. All in all, it was an experience, a fun visit, but I’d never do my weekly or monthly shopping there because it is just too big.

Recipe:  It’s approaching the end of the gardening season, and time to use the basil before it succumbs to cooler temperatures.  Here are two recipes…a tasty Pork Roast with Pesto, and a Pesto Stroganoff that uses the leftovers, assuming you have any!
Pork Roast with Pesto

     Make your favorite pesto recipe, omitting the nuts.  For this, I used 2 c. basil leaves, ½ c. parsley leaves, ½ c. olive oil, and 3 cloves garlic.  Process in a food processor until fairly smooth.  Add 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese.  You may need to add a bit more olive oil to make a smooth sauce.
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
     Place a 4-5 lb. pork roast in a roasting pan, fat side up.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Using a spatula, spread a layer of pesto over the top, ends, and sides of the pork, using slightly more than half of the pesto. Roast for about 1 ½ hrs., until the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.  Remove from oven, cover with foil or lid, and let rest 10 min. before slicing. Note: If you plan to make the stroganoff, after removing the roast, add 1 ½ c. water to the roasting pan, stirring to release all the tasty bits.  Pour into a jar and refrigerate until needed. Place leftover pesto in a separate container.  Top with a thin layer of olive oil to coat pesto, and cover tightly.  

Pesto Stroganoff
     Cook 8 oz. wide noodles according to package directions.  
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil.  Sauté just until beginning to soften:  ½ c. chopped onion; ½ of a green bell pepper, chopped; 1 clove garlic, finely chopped.  Add 1 ½-2 c. diced leftover pesto pork roast and a 7 oz. can of sliced mushrooms, drained.  When meat is hot, stir in 1 c. sour cream, ¼ c. pesto, and a few grinds of black pepper.
     Drain noodles.  Pour sauce over noodles.  Top each serving with a spoonful of pesto.
 Since there are just two of us, we had the roast one evening, and delicious sandwiches for lunch another day, before making the stroganoff for dinner another night.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I’ve had a bounty of radishes from my new potager.  Here’s a crisp salad that I developed, and since there are variations, we’re having it often.  It’s even better the next day, after the flavors have blended!
Carolee’s Colorful Radish Salad
In a medium bowl, toss together: 1 ½ c. thinly sliced radishes; ½ c. diced celery; ½ c. parsley, finely chopped; ¼ c. spearmint, finely chopped;  2 T. finely diced shallots (or mild onions…Cipollini are wonderful!)
For the dressing:  Shake together ¼ c. olive oil; 2 T. orange juice; 2 tsp. lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Or, substitute Balsamic vinegar for the juices, or use your favorite bleu cheese or French dressing.

If October speeds by as quickly as September has I’ll still be only halfway through my job list.  Plants will have to be moved in before a frost, and the final third of the boxes in the potager filled with soil. And, I’ll have lots of bulbs to plant soon.  Sure is a good thing I retired.  I’m too busy to run a business!  

Herbal Blessings, Carolee