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Always try to grow in your garden some plant or plants out of the ordinary, something your neighbors never attempted. For you can receive no greater flattery than to have a gardener of equal intelligence stand before your plant and ask, "What is that?"

~Richardson Wright~

From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

Thanks to everyone who visited with us during our sale, it was fun to meet you and learn of your gardens. The GTG greenhouse is nearly empty and we will soon be getting the shelves ready for fall plants. We will be growing the new double hellebore and they are spectacular in early spring.
Our veggie garden is coming along nicely, the 'potato tower' seems a success so far and the mafia squash and sweet meat pumpkin are fighting one another for space. I am looking forward to harvest (and eating) time. The daylilies bloomed a full 2 weeks early so I am really happy to see many of the new coneflower varieties showing off in the beds. Our fb page bouquet was made up of 'Raspberry Truffle' , 'Southern Belle', and 'White Double Delight' and lasted nearly 2 weeks inside!

Happy harvesting, Belle
Green Thumbs Galore LLC

Heirlooms may be Pretty Ugly

by Dava Stewart

While produce from your garden may not always be “ugly” if you have ever compared a fat, perfect strawberry from the grocery store with a smaller, bumpier one from your yard, you know what I mean. The perennial example is a grocery store tomato versus a homegrown tomato. It is a drastic and effective comparison. The perfect, plump, red tomato from Mexico or Chile sitting next to a ridgy, misshapen Cherokee Purple or Brandywine is a striking image.

As most gardeners know, though, it’s the TASTE comparison that counts, far more than the visual comparison. Plus, I would argue that the rainbow of colors and the amazing variety you get from heirloom and homegrown vegetables is actually more visually appealing than the rather homogenized look of grocery store produce.

If the less-than-perfect appearance of your vegetables bothers you, preserving can be one way to eliminate that worry. When you make strawberry freezer jam, it really doesn’t matter what your strawberries look like. A beautiful jar of marinara sauce could have been made from really ugly tomatoes!

I have a distinct memory of being scolded for letting a “bad spot” slip through as I was snapping green beans as a child. “I won’t have any ugly spots on the beans in my jars!” my grandmother announced, handing me a not-sharp, plastic, butter knife with which I was to cut out the bad spots. And indeed, despite my carelessness, her jars of beans were impeccable, and filled with picture-worthy beans. I have seen plenty of beans with spots, and even stems, in cans from the grocery store.

Another way my grandmother made sure her preserved food was pretty was by making what she called “soup mix.” It was the base that she used for all sorts of soups, and it was made up of pretty much anything that ended up being a bit of extra. After she finished canning tomatoes, there might have been three or four left over. Not quite enough to warrant filling the pressure cooker again, but a bit more than was needed for dinner. Those tomatoes went into the soup mix, along with corn, beans, potatoes, carrots, and whatever else happened to be on hand.

I have never seen prettier soup. It was versatile, and delicious, but also gorgeous. Tasty and beautiful. Just what you want in a good, hot soup when your toes are cold in December.

Soon, in just a month or two, our gardens will be producing more than we can eat at dinner. Since preserving has become less common than it was a few decades ago, many people find the whole idea daunting. There are plenty of simple and inexpensive ways to get started, one of the easiest is to wash whole tomatoes, toss them in a bag and in the freezer they go. Perfectly easy to add a few to your pasta sauces for that fresh garden taste and making the whole experience of gardening sweeter.

Don’t be overwhelmed! If you have never preserved food before, check with your local agricultural extension office. They often offer classes, or literature that will be helpful. You can also do some research that will help you decide if you want to dry, freeze, or can your produce. google will help find interesting recipes to experiment with and enjoy fresh flavors all year.

While the visual comparison between a perfectly round, red grocery store tomato and a bumpy, ridgy, pinkish garden tomato is startling, the taste of preserved tomatoes from your own garden and grocery store canned tomatoes is even more noticeable. When you can bite into summer on the coldest winter day, you will be so glad that you did all that research and work to preserve some portion of your harvest, and I am guessing you will never think of your produce as “ugly” again.


June in the Garden:

Flowers :
Cool Drinks :
Veggies - Sweet Meat Pumpkin: