HELEN LANG: Summer’s end brings different garden goods

Variety grows wider as weather grows cooler says Lang

No, summer isn’t over, but it’s cooler at night now. I’ve had to close my balcony door at night, much as I’ve loved sleeping with it wide open, but it’s either closing it, or getting an extra blanket, or resorting to a hot water bottle and it’s much too early for that.

Let’s wander out into the vegetable garden for a few minutes and decide what to do when we next get a burst of energy. Maybe you should hill up soil around the carrot tops so they won’t turn green, maybe thin the beets a bit more, the turnips as well, to give them extra room to put on more weight. How about picking a few ears of corn for dinner tonight? The pole beans need picking and the bush beans as well, and the onions need to be turned over to expose all sides to as much sun as possible. That’s enough for today, time to go and rest on a lounge chair in the sun, maybe with a cup of tea to help restore your energy level. Whew, that was hot work.

Cher has been picking strawberries in her garden. This sometimes happens when we have a long, hot summer, and what a treat they are. I am jealous, of course. But I have picked (and eaten) several “Sweet 1,000,000” tomatoes and have several large, juicy “Big Beef” almost ready, with more to come!

I had a phone call from a woman on Frost Avenue in Sidney who is troubled by the multitude of dandelions growing on the boulevard across from her home. She suggested her neighbours could dig them out (she would help) to prevent their showing up next year. It’s a nice idea, a neighbourhood working together. I’ve seen it being done in Vancouver – beds at the ends of residential streets, beside the sidewalks, planted with flowers and grasses, and maintained by people in the neighbourhood – a good way to make new friends too.

Since pickling cucumbers will be about ready to harvest, I’d like to give you a simple, but excellent recipe for dill pickles, one I’ve used for years. Mind you, you probably don’t need more than a few jars of them. How many hamburgers can a body eat anyway? You will need quite a lot of dill weed and it isn’t easy to find unless you’ve grown your own and if you can acquire enough grape leaves to put one in each jar, it is supposed to make your dills crisper.