Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, September 24


Happy Fall, everybody! The equinox arrived in the USA on Thursday. It's a nice time to go for a walk or do some fall clean-up. Have you got things to harvest in your garden?

Fall Flowers

Hi KT:

Since my wife got into flower arranging a couple years ago, I have been trying to grow more things that she can cut for bouquets. This was my first year attempting to grow dahlias. The few that survived have been beautiful. Here are a couple pictures.

Frankly, I'm lucky that any dahlias survived to produce blooms. I planted them too soon, then the rains came, so they sat too long in cold, wet soil when they weren't supposed to be planted until the soil was warm and dry. Then when some of them started sprouting, the deer ate most of those. The few that survived to this point were not staked, so they started falling over. But my wife loves the ones that ran the gauntlet of my gardening mismanagement and survived, so having learned from my mistakes, I am promising her a better crop next year. I'm also fencing in the flower beds to keep the cloven-hooved rodents out.

All the best,

Cumberland Astro

Dahlia - 1ca.jpg

Dahlia - 2ca.jpg

Good time of year for flower arranging. Beautiful flowers, well presented.

* * *

Edible Gardening/Putting Things By

We got a bleg last week and a response this week:

Black JEM refers to "jars of pesto". If that person has a secret to canning their pesto, do you think they would share? I've frozen my pesto in various forms and accomplished nothing more than wasting ingredients. I would offer a trade for the information or just the gratitude of a grateful gardener.

Thanks! Becky, crazy pesto lady

From Black JEM:


You had asked for some additional Pesto information, so I thought I would share some pictures, recipe, and our freezing/storage info. Here is the ingredient list - and it makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto. And you will see in the pictures that we had a lot of basil. Anyway, this is Mrs. Black JEM's recipe - I am responsible for growing the basil and flat leaf parsley. I am also responsible for shredding the cheese - get the good stuff in blocks or wedges and hand grate it.

Anyway, here is the ingredient list:

3 to 4 Tbs. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
2 to 3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
10 to 15 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

So here are her directions for putting it all together. Of course you start with basil - and I have Pesto Party plants in my herb garden - 6 of them, and they produce like crazy and are super slow to bolt - it's her favorite for Pesto, and we've tried a few. This was just form one pesto making session - and we did this a total of three times. Look at the basil - and some flat leaf parsley thrown in.


Preparing the basil. Remove basil leaves from the stems. Wash and dry the leaves. I like to use a salad spinner to get the majority of water out of the leaves and then I lay my basil leaves out on paper towels to dry while I prepare the rest of the ingredients. {Do the same with the parsley - B. JEM}


Preparing the pine nuts. I like to toast my pine nuts on the stove top in a non-stick pan over low heat. Continuously stir and don't walk away because this process happens pretty quickly, and you dont want to end up with burned pine nuts.


{ I mentioned the cheese - I'm just adding the pictures because it sure looks nice - you've already grated it as you got ingredients ready, same way for each of the two cheeses}


In a blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts and garlic. Process to chop coarsely. Add about half of the basil and process to chop coarsely. Add the remaining basil, the parsley and olive oil and process until a thick green sauce forms. If the sauce is too thin, add more basil or parsley; if it is too thick, add more olive oil.

Add the cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Process briefly.

{Now to answer Becky's question - this is all we do - and perhaps these ingredients are a bit different than hers, there seems to be a bunch of different pesto recipes, and maybe that impacts how it stores.}

Pour into a glass jar or other container and top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the surface from discoloring. A four ounce Ball jar is enough pesto to toss with a pound of pasta. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. {I swear this is it - we use the ball jars to store it, we do not "can it". Just fill and put a lid on and twist a on a ring to keep it sealed - here is just one picture of some of the pesto bounty.}


" You can also freeze your pesto in Ball jars. Frozen pesto should be defrosted at room temperature. This recipe is concentrated and you can add olive oil to the desired consistency when you are ready to use." {I use the cases the jars come in to act as an easy storage aid in the freezer - this stuff keeps a long time, well over a year, and the pesto crazy daughter loves it, some of it journeyed with her to college this year, we certainly had enough. Here is a picture of the stash in the freezer.}

I think that about covers it. I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but I love growing things that people I love, love to eat. If there is anything I failed to explain, let KT know, I'll be happy to go to our family pesto expert for the answer.


Thanks for all the details and the great photos! And the cooking tips.

* * *

Strawberry under a microscope

strawbry under micro.jpg

* * *

Ah, Nature

MarkY sent in some deer fencing details:

Hope these pics are adequate.

Hog fence below on 5' T posts. Chicken wire above on 1/2 stick of 1/2" conduit. We built with baling wire, and reinforce with zip ties.
It's suggested you string ribbons all around, so the fence can be seen in low light. Ours is about gone.

Our garden is 260 feet all around. If we had realized the electric fence was so easy, we may have never built the fence. Dunno. Now we have both.

Solar powered controller. Plug in is about $100 cheaper, but we have no electric out in that front field. Supposedly will run 5 miles of fence (or 5 strands 1 mile).

Note okra in background.

We're gonna expand the electric fence to encompass and protect our small fruit trees. T posts and wiring gets expensive if you start doing a layout for every tree, and maintenance becomes an issue, cause you have to make provisions to open the fence to weed, mulch, etc..

deer fence.jpg


electric fencing.jpg

Wow. Very useful information! Thanks!

* * *

Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

If you would like to send photos, stories, links, etc. for the Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, the address is:

ktinthegarden at g mail dot com

Remember to include the nic or name by which you wish to be known at AoSHQ, or let us know if you want to remain a lurker.

* * *

Week in Review

What has changed since last week's thread? Saturday Gardening, Puttering and Adventure Thread, September 17

Any thoughts or questions?

I closed the comments on this post so you wouldn't get banned for commenting on a week-old post, but don't try it anyway.

* * *

Botany Bonus:

Colchicum makes leaves in spring, flowers in fall. More at the link. Most of them are poisonous.


Posted by: K.T. at 01:23 PM


(Jump to bottom of comments)

1 Good afternoon Greenthumbs

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 01:31 PM (xhxe8)

2 Still getting tomatoes and peppers though weather turned cool no frost for a bit yet.
And that is more basil than I have grown ever

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 01:34 PM (xhxe8)

3 Skip at September 24, 2022 01:34 PM

Have you ever made pesto?

Posted by: KT at September 24, 2022 01:35 PM (rrtZS)

4 And I thought I knew strawberries.

- LCDR Queeg

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 01:36 PM (/RDPd)

5 hiya

Posted by: JT at September 24, 2022 01:40 PM (T4tVD)

6 No, and do have lots of oregano. Basil this year was worse ever, surely got old plants

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 01:54 PM (xhxe8)

7 I recently planted some White Amaranth because the Asian market had seed packets available for a couple of bucks. It was late in the season so I may not get flowers or seeds, but the leaves are good for making small roll-ups or in salads.

The germination rate looks to have been *very* good, and they bounce back well after getting dry so they seem to be a good choice for even bad gardeners like myself.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at September 24, 2022 01:54 PM (nC+QA)

8 Have you ever made pesto?
Posted by: KT

Is it made with pests ?

Posted by: JT at September 24, 2022 01:54 PM (T4tVD)

9 Did make pizza yesterday with a few fresh basil and oregano on it

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 01:55 PM (xhxe8)

10 No, and do have lots of oregano. Basil this year was worse ever, surely got old plants

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 01:54 PM (xhxe

You could try making oregano infused vinegar or olive oil. Would probably be tasty.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at September 24, 2022 01:56 PM (nC+QA)

11 Yeah, oregano goes a long way.

Posted by: KT at September 24, 2022 02:00 PM (rrtZS)

12 My oregano is bigger every year, have 3 plants growing now

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 02:22 PM (xhxe8)

13 I have been drying fruit and veggies, my pole beans are still pushing out green beans, and now that the pears and apples are mostly over, I can start drying zucchini.

The tomatoes are still late, and I am hoping the next week of dry weather will let them ripen. They generally get ripe right when we get the first torrential downpour and all the ripe fruit splits.
I do think I have resolved my blossom end rot by adding lime and bone meal to the soil when planting and side dressing with lime when the fruit started to set.

I am trying to work out what to do with the yard, and now that I have cleaned out most of the blackberries from the hedge, I am thinking of taking the hedge out and putting in plum trees.

Posted by: Kindltot at September 24, 2022 02:25 PM (xhaym)

14 I'm at a restaurant for late morning chicken fried steak and eggs. Trying to warm up from a chilly motorcycle ride. I won't have many more opportunities to get on 2 wheels before the weather turns bad, especially up in the mountains.

Posted by: PabloD at September 24, 2022 02:26 PM (9ByqA)

15 Bravo on the Dahlias, CA! I never realized what beautiful flowers they are until we visited Gloucester, MA last fall and saw them on display at the park near the harbor. Stunning colors and sizes. I took some pictures of them, which I will attempt to send this week.

Posted by: Mrs. Leggy at September 24, 2022 02:27 PM (Vf4Y7)

16 Cumberland Astro--Those dahlias are breathtaking.

I never appreciated dahlias until we visited Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC. They have a whole area devoted to dahlias and they are amazingly varied and beautiful.

Between the deer, heat, and drought around here, I have to enjoy them vicariously. Fine with me.

Posted by: Art Rondelet of Malmsey at September 24, 2022 02:33 PM (fTtFy)

17 Except for a few stems of rosemary, the garden is kaput for the year. Not a successful garden this season but I have hopes for next year. We have enough seeds for a good start come spring and hope to add some tomato seeds over the winter. (I assume some basic type seeds will be available.)

Posted by: JTB at September 24, 2022 02:37 PM (7EjX1)

18 Very nice cornucopia and photo of plentifulness, KT!

Posted by: m at September 24, 2022 02:38 PM (rnYgr)

19 Salty was nice enough to come out for a visit. He wanted to help so I asked him to plant my irises and raspberries. The raspberries looked awful bit had some new growth. All seem to be recovering. I may have to move them come spring but will let them rest for now. And I'm trying to figure out where to put in a garden. There are some day lilies out front that could use some attention too.

Posted by: Notsothoreau at September 24, 2022 02:40 PM (uz3Px)

20 Love the photos and tutorials. Both are very helpful. We were discussing pesto earlier today and how we prefer to use it sparingly. A few jars kept in the freezer would meet our needs. Thanks for the process.

Posted by: JTB at September 24, 2022 02:41 PM (7EjX1)

21 Beatiful thread, KT.

Posted by: Eromero at September 24, 2022 02:44 PM (gktX6)

22 All in all a bit disappointing garden this year, not disaster just disappointing. Hardly any Tomatoes, some peppers and cucumbers, suash did the best.
Also in all the years in same place trees around are getting big and sun isn't what it use to be for duration.

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 02:56 PM (xhxe8)

23 We actually got into the 40s last night and it felt glorious when I went out this morning. Comfortable temps and humidity are not a given in our area in September, so I'm enjoying it.

Mrs. JTB and I will likely get a good aneroid barometer as a gift to ourselves. We like to follow weather and a barometer is so helpful for that. When I was young, almost every home had one and I assume it was the same in other New England seaside towns. Weather reporting was primitive back then and it paid to be able to predict what was coming. (The local daily newspaper and radio station always had tide information broken out by different parts of the bay.)

Posted by: JTB at September 24, 2022 02:57 PM (7EjX1)

24 All in all a bit disappointing garden this year, not disaster just disappointing. Hardly any Tomatoes, some peppers and cucumbers, suash did the best.
Also in all the years in same place trees around are getting big and sun isn't what it use to be for duration.
Posted by: Skip

I'm with you - the garden didn't do squat this year. Voracious deer did the most damage and wiped out everyone's veggie and decorative plants. They have never been as bad as this year. Some neighbors think this is a harbinger of a hard winter.

I'm thinking - nope. The coyotes will soon be back. They haven't been around for 3-4 years now - they are lulling the deer, cats and small dogs into a sense of apathy.

Posted by: Tonypete at September 24, 2022 03:02 PM (LsEU/)

25 KT,

Thanks, as always, for the gardening thread. I always learn things and it gives me fodder for planning next year's garden. I don't always have something to contribute but I do read each post and comment.

Posted by: JTB at September 24, 2022 03:02 PM (7EjX1)

26 Pretty Cornucopia.

No gardening for me today. We are getting ready to remodel the kitchen and the wife thought it would be a good idea for me to do the demo. Oh I just love here.

The tile on the counters has 1.5 inches of concrete under it and that is on top of chicken wire and tar paper nailed to the wood. It's a joy ! The cabinets are older so they are nailed to the wall.


Anyway back to the slaving. I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather.

Posted by: Hatari Somewhere on Ventura Highway at September 24, 2022 03:13 PM (WF/xn)

27 PS

Great post with wonderful information. Those Dahlias are something els

Posted by: Hatari Somewhere on Ventura Highway at September 24, 2022 03:14 PM (WF/xn)

28 Our disappointing garden this year wasn't just in our backyard. I heard similar complaints from others and at the local farmers market. I don't understand why as the summer weather was pretty nice, not extremely hot, dry or wet.

Looking through the 2023 Old Farmer's Almanac I came across the section on planting by phases of the moon. I always assumed that was an old wife's tale but kinda wonder if the old gals knew something. Probably not, but it's fun to speculate.

Posted by: JTB at September 24, 2022 03:16 PM (7EjX1)

29 True to Los Angeles lore, the hottest days of the year are the high holy days. 106° forecast Monday, Tuesday.

Posted by: Commissar of Plenty and Lysenko Solutions at September 24, 2022 03:16 PM (oDiei)

30 I must try

Posted by: www.Profit97.Com at September 24, 2022 03:17 PM (Zo3T7)

31 Wife maybe saved a small toad, somehow she saw it with 1 leg holding on to rim of a 3 foot steel pipe I have in ground for my flat pole to slip over. She pulled it out, laid it on ground and left a few minutes and returning it was gone.

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 03:19 PM (xhxe8)

32 My recipe for pesto is simpler. I use walnuts instead of pine nuts. I generally have them on hand and I believe they are cheaper. Basil leaves, couple of cloves of garlic, handful of walnuts in processor. A little salt. A few rough on and off grinds to crush ingredients and then pour good EVOO until it is a nice light green. Because I am going to freeze it, I do not add cheese. Spray an ice cube tray with EVOO spray. About a tablespoon in each. Freeze, knock out the squares, put in plastic bag. Back on freezer. Have a couple,of bag full from a single plant and will get another batch.
I also did the dry basil in the oven that someone suggested and that came out perfect so will have dried basil through the winter.

Posted by: Sharon(willow's apprentice) at September 24, 2022 03:24 PM (Y+l9t)

33 Re: pesto
My wife preserves most everything, but prefers fresh basil, so we always have one or two plants in the south window going. Don't have any outside. Odd.

Posted by: MkY at September 24, 2022 03:24 PM (cPGH3)

34 But Sarah has does your garden grow?

Posted by: Skip at September 24, 2022 03:24 PM (xhxe8)

35 It is just me, so the ball jar idea would be way too much. I usually only use a couple of squares when making pasta and add the cheese when almost done.
It also works great on shrimp.

Posted by: Sharon(willow's apprentice) at September 24, 2022 03:27 PM (Y+l9t)

36 Sharon(willow's apprentice) at September 24, 2022 03:27 PM

The box says "quarter pint" - half cup. So if you can keep it in the fridge for a few days after freezing or 2 weeks after processing, you should be able to use a jar easily.

Posted by: KT at September 24, 2022 03:37 PM (rrtZS)

37 Skip at September 24, 2022 03:19 PM

Better to have a little toad hop away than to have a little dried toad stuck in a pipe. If your wife refrains from demanding Instagram hero status, all is well.

Posted by: KT at September 24, 2022 03:40 PM (rrtZS)

38 The solar powered controller looks like a great idea for the electric fence. Good use for solar.

Posted by: KT at September 24, 2022 03:43 PM (rrtZS)

39 Sorry to break the #100 rule but this is funny. It appears Trudeau has transitioned:

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 03:51 PM (qfLjt)

40 39
Did any of the Horde experience rain from the hurricane that hit Canada?

Posted by: Ciampino at September 24, 2022 03:53 PM (qfLjt)

41 From Boise are: Highs 70-84, lows 48-55. House heater, set at 66 F, ran the last 2 mornings. Some brief bands of rain on Wed. morning.

Linden leaves are starting to go gold. Some neighborhood trees changing faster than mine. I cleaned up and set out a bird seed feeder since the avian flu scare is done with, and winter is coming... I ought to go buy "quail seed blocks" now, before they run out, since I had trouble getting them when I wanted them last winter.

Still picking green beans, but cut some plants down. Remaining zucchini look misshapen. Unsure if remaining cantaloupe and tomatoes will ripen.

I planted 44 crocus behind the kitchen window last Sunday. Husband has installed a total of 4 new sprayers in the new "orchard" (6 trees). He also had to replace the kitchen sink handle assembly Wed., when it got stuck with the water running on Tues.!

Today we're working on moving a sprayer out front, in an area we put landscaping cloth and bark chips on - lots of tree roots, plus unexpected parts and fittings down in there - he's had to run to the hardware store for more stuff. Further report later!

Posted by: Pat* at September 24, 2022 04:11 PM (+a5G3)

42 35 It is just me, so the ball jar idea would be way too much. I usually only use a couple of squares when making pasta and add the cheese when almost done.
It also works great on shrimp.

Posted by: Sharon(willow's apprentice) at September 24, 2022 03:27 PM (Y+l9t)

It's also good in place of tomato sauce on pizza. Nothing better than pepperoni and pesto (and mushrooms) pizza

Posted by: Bonnie Blue the ungrateful colonial at September 24, 2022 04:46 PM (Ppq/w)

43 I heard from the owner of my former garden that my raspberry patch has now passed 120 square feet. Not bad from two canes that some idiot parked on, when they were young. Of course, she's allergic, so she says she's going to have someone chainsaw the whole thing.

I didn't tell her that will just encourage it to grow more, and faster.

Posted by: Gordon Scott at September 24, 2022 05:21 PM (Rxtls)

44 Phew. Sprayer installation project done! Husband had to put a T-fitting in, instead of an elbow as intended - but that let him install a low volume fan sprayer at the other end, which covers an area which we've thought about putting future plantings in. The 2 trees look lonely with no understory - we've mused on peonies, tulips, crocus, regular iris, or some combo thereof.

Posted by: Pat* at September 24, 2022 05:46 PM (+a5G3)

45 The day's irrigation adventure is finally completed. All in aid of being ready to put some understory in a planting area we've been developing. Opened things up and discovered that it wasn't the usual PVC main line plus swing pipe found on the property, but a funky graft of 1/2" onto the end of flexible feed hose. Off to the hardware for more parts, and now the big rotary sprayer is at the new lawn edge and there's a 180 degree popup where it once was, ready for whatever we decide goes in the area next spring.

Posted by: Pat*''s Hubby at September 24, 2022 05:59 PM (+a5G3)

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