The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

8 thoughts on “The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

  1. Pingback: Best in Show | Spy Garden

  2. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!

    I thought the title said “The last summer in Spy Garden”!! Lots of fun photos here, but glad to see the Lion’s Tail is slow in everybody’s garden here, not just mine! The paper plates armor made me laugh.

    Love the MO river sunrise photo!

    Reply
  3. Eliza Waters

    Very random, but always enjoyable! Love the skin on the Sikkim’s – attractively reptilian. :-) Can’t believe school in session again – that summer flew right by! I noticed on the weather map that you were enjoying a cool front. We’re in and out of thundershowers. I’m glad I never have to water the gardens. :-) Hope your weekend was fun.

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Yes, Sikkim is a nice variety with very unusual skin. Maybe we will grow it again (though I am always tempted to try something new!) I am loving the cooler weather here; fall is my favorite! Our weekend was fun; bike riding, hair cuts for the boys and a walk around our “downtown” (where I took the picture of the haybales and movie theater), church, a baseball game (“fall ball” has already begun for the Spy!), and a productive few hours today in the library finishing up the last of my 2 summer courses: done! YAYyyy! The fall semester begins tomorrow (what a nice break, right?!) but it should be a bit slower pace than the summer which I am thankful for. Thanks for the comments as always!

      Reply
  4. narf77

    Another excellent post. You appear to be heading into autumn and we “appear” to be heading into our spring. Apparently it is spring as the birds are starting to nest and the nectarine trees are covered in blossom and I have flowers on my dead almond (called Lazarus) but it is cold, raining, and Brunhilda has been hard at it, 24/7, since mid April this year. Never had a winter like it in this house and she won’t be going out any day soon! I went up to Sanctuary the other day to dump a bucket of kitchen scraps in my impromptu new garden bed. I plan on heaping soil, hay and manure on top of the neat scraps (once everything has picked over them of course ;) ) to form a new garden bed for our approaching growing season. Something has been eating the perennial leeks. Looks like some detective work is in order and a few hours scouring the netting for holes. Another season has almost begun, albeit in Wellies ;).

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      A perfect description of early spring; sounds full of surprises and possibilities (and hopefully disappointments for your four-legged thieves!) Thanks for the comments ;). On the Purina Farms pictures; a few weeks ago we actually met a woman from Australia who had traveled all the way here to show her dogs (they have the big official dog shows there) at Purina!

      Reply

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