A Gardener’s Diary: Enjoy nature’s bounty this fall

Jocelyne Sewell is enjoying fresh vegetables and fruit from the garden

There might be a couple of weeks left of the summer but when I turned the calendar page to September, for me it spelled the end of another season and the start of garden clean-up. All my tomato vine tops have been cut off to give a chance to the green tomatoes to ripen. Any blossoms now would only cause the plant to put energy in making more fruits which would not ripen or be too small for harvest. The days are getting shorter and much cooler now.

The beans have slowed down but I managed to freeze enough “Spanish beans,” one of my favourite recipes. I also made a large batch of “Tourlu” which is an Armenian version of the classic French ratatouille. I really like that it uses up so many of your garden vegetables and freezes very well.

Three years ago, I purchased two Triple Crown thornless blackberry canes. I got them late in the season and they remained in the pots for the winter. In the spring, I transplanted them but in the wrong place and had to move them in the fall.

Last year the deer managed to come in the yard and chewed most of the tips. This year, they are going wild. I just started harvesting some of the berries. They are  very big and have an excellent taste but they have to be completely ripe for the sweetness. The Triple Crown blackberry plant is named for its three crowning attributes: flavour, productivity and vigour.

The semi-erect nature of the Triple Crown blackberry is similar to a trailing berry plant and requires trellising for optimum production. Once the canes reach about 30 inches, they begin to fall over to the ground. Some of the new canes this year are 10 feet and more. According to some tests, the yield could be 30 pounds of fruit per vine. Zones 5-9.

On June 20, I transplanted some corn in the front yard, about 24 plants. With full sun exposure and the heat of July, they grew very well. Tom waters the front part of the garden and he made sure that they would not go thirsty. We could almost see them going up and in no time, all the plants were very tall. Some of them measure about seven feet. The problem was that nothing was showing yet and by Aug. 15, I was almost ready to cut them down and forget about it. Suddenly, the ears came on and for the last week, we’ve been having corn every second day. The taste is just so good. Get the cobs, clean them, put in cold water enough to cover and once the water boils, get them out, sit at the table and enjoy. I am already planning for some more next year.

If you have too many fruits and vegetables in your garden, don’t let them spoil. The food bank is always in need of fresh produce and the Upper Room Mission, with all the meals they serve, is always happy to receive your surplus. Fruits that rot on the ground attract bears and other animals. There are four raccoons living around our area. I saw them when I was walking the dog early one morning.

With September on, regular activities are renewed. The Okanagan Gardens and Roses garden club will meet again on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Schubert Centre. Everyone is welcome.

For more information, call 250-558-4556.