Winding Down the Summer Garden

Winding Down the Summer Garden

It's been a while since I've posted, but the garden is still growing, just at a slower pace. My short hiatus from the blog in October was due to a much-needed vacation, spending some time on homework (yes...homework!!), and an additional writing project. Vacation included fun, friends and family out west. Just what we needed.

I'm also excited to have started a couple of new "cerebral" endeavors. I started taking a class with the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture in their Sustainable Food and Farming certification program. I'm taking learning to the next level and I'm both challenged and grateful. And, as if writing for one blog wasn't enough, I started blogging for the Urban Gardeners Republic Blog. It's the largest online community of urban gardeners and I'm excited to be on their blogging team. Be sure to check it out - there are lots of great gardeners with interesting tips and ideas. You can read my posts for Ripening Tomatoes Indoors and How to Grow Garlic. More to come!

So, while I often feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew...I'm still busy in the garden (and in the kitchen with my garden goods) and thought I'd post an update to rejuvenate. 

What's Still Growing & What's Not

The last of my tomatoes for the season

The last of my tomatoes for the season


In September, I started taking down my tomato plants that were no longer producing and in mid-October, I took in the very last of my tomatoes to ripen indoors. There were about a dozen large tomatoes and what seemed like a bushel of Sun Gold and Supersweet 100s left on the vine. I ate some raw when they ripened and just roasted many of them and made a nice soup. I just did a simple roasted tomato soup this time with a touch of balsamic vinegar added for a little extra tang. 

Get the Recipe: Tomato & Fennel Soup


Peppers tend to be late bloomers, and I've got some Green Bell Peppers (small ones) and Sweet Banana Peppers in the garden. The Ancho Peppers have JUST started to come out....they are really late....I hope they can make it to maturity. I have a feeling that they were dwarfed by taller plantings in the garden bed and didn't get as much early sun as they should have. It's a lesson for sure - don't overcrowd and be aware of the height of your plants when planting.

Green Bell Pepper

Green Bell Pepper

Sweet Banana Pepper

Sweet Banana Pepper

Ancho Pepper

Ancho Pepper

Celery Root

I'm excited for my celeriac (celery root). Last year, I only grew 6 bulbs. This year, I have 24!! I will admit though that they seem a bit small. I'm leaving them in the dirt for a bit longer. Maybe they'll make it to the Thanksgiving table this year. I'd love to share my harvest with family.

Try the Recipe: Celery Root & Apple Soup

Carrots & Parsnips

Root vegetables like carrots and parsnips are easy to grow and are a great late-season vegetable to harvest. I still have Rainbow Carrots, Nelson Carrots and Javelin Parsnips growing in the garden. I recently pulled a few of the carrots out to roast them and they were deliciously sweet.

The "Nelson" carrots are real winners. They're incredibly tasty and sweet, and don't grow too deep, which is great for containers (but you'll need deeper containers than wine boxes).
Ugly Produce is Good Produce

Ugly Produce is Good Produce

Learn to Grow: How to Grow Parsnips
Get the Recipe: Roasted Parsnips with Garlic & Rosemary


I just took in the last of my eggplant - about 3 lbs worth.  As I've written before, Eggplant is a wonderfully easy-to-grow and delicious addition to any garden.

Eggplant is not frost tolerant, so if you still have some in the garden - keep an eye on the frost predictions in your area. 

Every year, I make a batch or two of Eggplant Parmesan. I freeze much of it to enjoy over the course of the winter. Recipe coming soon!

Learn to Grow: All About Eggplant


Garden Lettuce

Garden Lettuce

Although the lettuce I planted in spring isn't still going, a late summer planting of lettuce is. It's leaf lettuce, so I'm able to trim it back and it continues to grow more.

Learn to Harvest: Harvesting and Storing Lettuce

What's Next?

I'm excited that I actually have newer plantings that I put in the dirt in August and the beginning of September. I'm trying to extend the season as much as possible. When you get used to pulling fresh organic produce from your backyard, that's hard to let go of easily... 

More on the garden in my next post!

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine