Welcome to Hill Country Herbalist

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Gardening in the Hill Country

The Hill Country loves the fall and so do the veggies in the garden! This Swiss Chard was planted earlier this spring. Over the summer it continued to produce lovely foliage. It was beautiful for visual effect in the garden; however, the hotter it got, the more bitter the leaves became. Now that that the temperatures have cooled, the chard is back to producing delicious, delicate, and flavorful leaves… perfect for raw salads and sautés.

Also planted earlier this spring...my ever producing jalapenos! I've used these darlings in vinegars, dehydrated them and made them into spiced powders and certainly sautéed them into whatever dinner would be enhanced by them! I simply love these hardy plants. They didn't even flinch with this past brutal summer heat and sun. Herbaunt loves to make jalapeno jellies and jams. I'll be seeing her this coming weekend so I'll be bringing her a bag or two of these tasty lovelies!

These are "Black Cherry" tomatoes. They are absolutely my favorite tomato. They are prolific and when picked right off the vine, you're not sure whether it's a tomato or a tasty grape you are biting into! They are so very sweet and firm. Just a lovely fruit...perfect plain or dolled up with olive oil, salt/pepper, a squirt of lemon and garnished with basil blossoms. I'm delighted that the very same plants that gave endlessly this summer are full of blooms and producing delicious fruits this fall. Simply a winner!

Cilantro does well in the fall - I tend to have better luck growing it in the fall than in the spring. Something about the days growing cooler rather than warmer makes this plant sing with happiness. I pick at it so often; it hardly has a chance to grow large. No matter, it's happy and thriving and I love it!

Bell peppers are also rejuvenated and producing lots of blossoms and pepper babies right now. I pick about three ready to eat peppers a week from just the one plant I planted this past spring. I'll say that's a fantastic value!
One of my favorite herbs that has bounced back from the summer heat is Yarrow. I was pretty worried about our Yarrow this summer, as it died back and simply could not tolerate the brutal heat. Once fall arrived, and the days consistently stayed below 100 degrees, the Yarrow sprouted back and is happy as ever. The taste of the new leaves is delicate and delicious. Perfect to add to salads and a quick munch while working in the garden. Recently, herbhusband hurt his ankle. He developed a large bulging knot in his ankle and I prepared Yarrow tea as well as made a foot soak to include Arnica, Yarrow, fresh sprigs of Rosemary and Thyme. He's doing well - he did indeed break his ankle so we are doing our best to get him back to wellness! Incidentally, the Yarrow flowers are desired when making tea.
Ahhh...Zinnias....what can I say about this happy go lucky vibrant flower? They sure make the garden pop with color. Not edible or medicinal, they simply are adored in our garden as they dazzle us with their beauty. Love them - can't say enough about how easy they are to grow from seed and how they produce showy flowers in a short amount of time. Joy!
Our Meyer Lemon is loaded with lemons. We have ours planted in a wine barrel we purchased from Becker Vineyards. We transferred this plant from 1/2 a whisky barrel to this full size wine barrel and it is thriving. There's a couple dozen Meyer lemons ripening on the plant. We love these lemons as they are sweeter, less sour, and seedless. Juicy is an understatement! I enjoy making salad dressing from the juice as well as adding the juice to sautés and teas. Now, our biggest challenge is to move it back into the greenhouse before winter comes!
Our Arugula is doing well, also. It's blooming...signaling the end of season is near :( All the same, we pick off the leaves and add them to our dinner salads. It's amazing to think how we longed for the summer heat to break and in a blink of an eye... our fall is fading....
This is definitely the time of year to harvest, collect all the seeds you can, overwinter your beloved plants, and plan for next spring. But, for now....we are munching on our greens and enjoying the lovely evenings...hope you are too!!

No comments: