Gardening is sanity

Yea I need to write more blogs.  Some garden updates, now that it’s over.  Some ranting.  Some discussion of how strange it feels to feel like your head is spinning while we watch our country go more out of control. People need to vote in our upcoming election, because a fascist government will result if a lot of politicians get there way.  Once we get to that point there won’t be any going back. This is a very scary time here.  And other places across the world too. 

Politics, climate chaos, women here losing rights quickly, more rights and freedoms coming into question and the threats of going back 50 years.  It makes your head hurt.

But back to the good stuff that doesn’t make my head spin.  It was a strange gardening year, too hot at times and too dry most of the time, but some things did good. My best success was growing a new kind of tomato for the first time. I grew one Mortgage Lifter.  It’s a hundred year old heirloom variety.  During the depression the story was that if you grew some of these you could sell enough tomatoes to get rid of your mortgage. Probably an exaggeration, but I’ve never been more satisfied with a tomato plant. It gave me enough to eat, share and freeze a bunch whole and make a big pot of tomato sauce to freeze.

Nice good sized round tomatoes are what you get, with good flavor and not a lot of core.  I kept it watered in dry times.  For most of the summer it was about 6’ tall.  When it was time to take it down, I was curious to see what the root system looked like.  OH, it looked like bamboo roots, lol. That is not an ordinary tomato root system. 

Beans were strange, and produced almost none.  In their defense, I did plant them at a different place. Evidently they didn’t like the ground in that location.

Pattipan squash were great, as were peppers, sweet and hot. And 2 other varieties of tomatoes did  really good too. 

I grew arugula and mustard greens for my lizards, and in the process tried mustard greens for the first time myself.  I like them, not alone, but in soup or sautéed with some garlic and bacon, yum. 

There were dandelions and chicory flowers all summer for 2 happy lizards.  Also I grew nasturtiums for them for the first time and was really happy with what they turned out to be. It’s a pretty plant and lots of flowers from mid summer on. I’m drying some flowers to give Chuckie in the winter, while little Geyri brumates for 2 months.  I dried most of the squash flowers for him too, and some mint. The dried things can be mixed with his green salad when I prepare it in the evening, and by morning they have hydrated.  Not as good as fresh, but this is Pennsylvania heading into winter.

Chuckie continues to be entertaining while my little Geyri sleeps. He’s a happy chuckwalla, very active and has a big personality.  He likes to come out of his house some mornings and sit on the desk with me while I do things online. He won’t help me with Wordle tho. 

I freeze tomatoes and tomato sauce for winter, and use some herbs to make soup bases too, with small amounts of ham or beef.  I also save trimmings from celery, onion and carrots and freeze them in a bag. When I get a bag full, I cook them a couple hours and have a veggie soup base, good to add to different recipes. 

After all the goodness is cooked out of them, I bury them in the ground in the tomato bed, to do direct composting. All other veggie scraps and also coffee grounds get dug in there too, as long as the ground isn’t frozen, because direct composting is a good way you can enrich the soil over the winter. Waste naught, want naught, grandma said. 

Winter is always too long and too cold, and gets worse as I get older.  This year with prices all going up it’s looking really scary.  The price of heating our homes is the worst part, because energy costs are all up high. It will be the year to turn the heat lower and wear fuzzy socks and warm sweatshirts, and eat some good things I froze from the garden.  And dream of warmer days and growing another garden next year.  Daydreaming about good stuff sure beats watching the news, which will make you crazy. 

Be well, be warm, and know that somehow things will be ok. 

34 responses to “Gardening is sanity

  1. It seems the whole world is going crazy… I wish everybody and everything would slow down a little bit and come to their senses… In the meantime we will try to enjoy the little things in life around us. Like harvesting all those delicious vegetables.
    Take care, my dear friend! Glad to see you’re doing well.

    • Yes we have Today. Today was always a gift for each person, and we think of it more now. The status of the world makes us appreciate the little things, because the little things are the big things. Like your beautiful friend Jimi and your garden. And my crazy chuckwalla who keeps me entertained while little Geyri sleeps for 2 months. Enjoy each day; your music and coffee and, oh yea, chocolate! We are long time friends now.

      • Sleeping for 2 months…?? And waking up for coffee in a better and safer world? Count me in! 😉

      • Ha, no, that works for desert lizards but I think it won’t work for humans. Jimi would miss you so much! Safer, what a beautiful word that is now. Be safe and warm and well.

      • Thank you so much! I feel it’s time to have a coffee or maybe to join sleeping Jimi on the sofa…

  2. Yes gardening is sanity and our garden was our salvation during covid lockdown. So many countries are suffering with right wing governments, but we in Australia got rid of ours in May. Feeling much more positive now, with a decent PM and his talented team.
    Your lizard is amazing. I can’t imagine having one like that.

    • I actually have 2 different species and the other is sleeping for the winter now. It’s good you have a better government now. Our election is soon and I surely hope we won’t have a dictatorship after it’s decided. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. GREAT POST! I have grown Mortgage Lifter many times and was always happy with their tomatoes. Good to see Chuckie. I don’t remember seeing him before. I also didn’t realize Geyri was a species that hibernated. So he just sleeps all winter and doesn’t wake up?

    • Thanks. I will definitely grow that amazing tomato again. Most uromastyx brumate, a light hibernation, for several months each winter. They might conk out and disappear altogether, or wake up for short times every couple weeks, with very little activity and back to sleep they go. For chucks, most males don’t brumate and many females do, to prepare their bodies for breeding and the egg process in the spring. I’ve had Chuckie since January and wrote about him before but maybe you just missed the posts. He is a character! Anybody who thinks lizards don’t have a personality never knew a lizard.

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