HELEN LANG: Eat your carrots before your dessert

Just think of all those wonderful winter squash, turnips, beets, kale, carrots and parsnips still growing in local gardens.

Thrills! I have just eaten the first carrot out of the big pot on the balcony.

If was still pretty small, about two inches long, but nice and fat, and tasted marvelous, well, maybe not marvelous, but very tasty.

Those carrots need thinning if they are ever going to be half as  big as store-bought ones, but never mind, they are home-grown, and just need to be thinned out a little to give them room to put on weight.

I must keep them well watered, but the balcony is beginning to look pretty “tatty” (I love that word), but it is October and one mustn’t expect plants to look as sprightly as they did at mid-summer.

The geraniums, though, continue to produce big beautiful blooms, making a cheerful picture, in spite of the fading petunias, begonia, bocoppa and the bedraggled Clematis.

This sounds so gloomy, but remember apples, pears and peaches are now ready to eat (most of them anyway) so that makes fall a happy harvest time.

Coming from Victoria the other day it was fun to see all the ripe pumpkins in fields along the highway, some for Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, I bet, and others for Hallowe’en.

Local “everbearing” strawberries are also available (at a price!).

Just think of all those wonderful winter squash, turnips, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Swiss chard, kale, carrots and parsnips still growing in local gardens.

I can’t help recalling my productive garden on Melissa Street which, thankfully, is in good hands and still producing a bountiful harvest.

This reminds me that Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and I’m invited to my Pender Island daughter’s home for turkey dinner.

I offered to bring both a pumpkin and an apple pie for dessert, but she declined, saying (rather huffily I thought) “I make my own!”

I don’t think it is good policy to recommend special places to buy things (in a garden column), but I’ve just got to tell you about the pies available at M&M stores.

The pies on offer there come uncooked so you bake your own, and they are delectable!

If people rave about your pie, you don’t have to tell them you bought it.

Just say, “I kept the oven just at 350 degrees to cook it”, which is telling the truth — but maybe not quite all of it!

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.