Do you know how to have fewer weeds? Get rid of aphids? Grow bigger tomatoes? Have more vibrant geraniums? Neither do I, but some of these questions and many more might be answered at the next meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sunshine Room at SIGN on North Street. The theme of the meeting is “an interactive evening”, and every horticultural club member is asked to bring five helpful hints on any aspect of gardening. We all have heard all kinds of gardening advice and hints; this is the meeting to share them and compare them! Hope you can join us! Horticultural members, please remember to bring your garden pictures to add to the club photo album.
Remember that old song “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”? I read an interesting article a while back about people looking for love in the garden! That’s right; a farmer in Boise, Idaho decided to try an idea called “weed dating”. Singles who were looking for their special someone were invited to come out to the farm on a certain day, and everyone was assigned certain rows to weed in the garden. This gave them the chance to chat and get to know each other. Then afterwards, they all gathered for snacks and beverages. The article quoted one man who did meet his sweetie at the event; he said that when he saw the weed dating advertised, he knew right away that at least he would meet someone who shared his interest in the outdoors. Sure enough, he met his girlfriend there, but also other people who shared similar interests like conservation and outdoor pursuits, and possibly he made other new friends as well. An interesting idea!
Okay, now down to our gardening! If you have any herbs still left in pots, now is the time to “harvest” them for future use. We don’t bring in our herbs for the winter; we have tried it numerous times, but they just turn very spindly and yellow and do not last well. We keep our house quite warm, maybe that is the problem. But for us, it works better to harvest the herbs in the fall. We dry our parsley; Mom always used to wash the leaves, dry them well, then lay then on paper towels on cookie sheets to dry out completely. We then stored the dried leaves in jars. You can also dry parsley in small batches in the microwave: lay them on paper towels on plates, and dry them in small increments of time. Be VERY watchful while you do this, because parsley will burn quickly!
Sage, one of my favorites, is easy to dry: just wash the leaves, lay them on paper towels on plates, and forget about them! They dry easily, and then you can store them in a jar for the next time you make stuffing for chicken or turkey.
Basil does not dry well; it loses much of its flavor. I have read that you can chop up the fresh basil and then freeze it in ice cubes. Then just keep these basil ice cubes in a bag in your freezer, and toss them in as needed for spaghetti sauce or soup.
Rosemary also dried very easily: cut off the stems, put them in a glass or vase (with no water) and just let them dry! Then you can store them in jars and bring them out next time you are cooking pork chops or pork tenderloin. Aromatic and delicious!
While the evenings are cool, there are still some glorious days in the sun in our gardens! Okay, you might have to wear a fleece and possibly even gloves, depending on how early you go out! But it is still a joy to sit and contemplate the autumn garden! Have a great week!