Laying The Garden By

August 8, 2013

It is, unbelievably, August. Where did our summer go, I keep asking myself.

It has been uncharacteristically cool and wet, everything we planted has made well. I have made enough jellies and jams to keep us in sweets for the next three years. The tomatoes in the raised beds have furnished us with over 70 quarts of canned tomatoes, and I am in fact about to can 12 more quarts.

I find myself astounded that as often as I have offered free tomatoes to my Facebook friends, enough for them to can their own, I have had no takers. Earlier in the summer I offered free Iris rhizomes and water plants for ornamental ponds. I had one taker (thank you Carol for taking them off my hands). In fact, I still have water plants looking for another tub or pond to call home. But I refuse to go on Facebook and offer a darned thing again. You read it here, if you want to start a water tub or ornamental pond and need plants, look my phone number up in the book and give me a call. If not, well I have a number of tubs I can “borrow” from Mac to divide them out.

But, as I was saying before I went off on a tangent, it is August and time to start planting the cole crops, the cabbage, collards, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. I am getting anxious now to pull up the tomatoes and retill the beds adding nutrients to the soil to make them grow healthy enough for canning. I have found that I love canning and love my pressure canner. I often cuss it when the lid doesn’t want to go on lickety split, but eventually I sweet talk it on so the pressure can build and the time begin counting down.

Last week I made vegetable soup. I called my aunt, Margaret Kneece, and asked her if Mammy and Mama put the cabbage in the soup to can or added it when they opened the soup to eat. She assured me that the cabbage went in with all the other veggies. So the soup has butterbeans, okra, tomatoes (of course) carrots, cabbage and potatoes. I made my father pint jars that he can fix as single servings. I intend to make more next week.

I made a new friend in the canning aisle at Walmart. She thought I had called her name (Cathy) and turned to speak. Well, I can hardly not speak when someone looks at me expectantly so we had a long conversation about fig canning (I start that tomorrow) and before I knew it we were exchanging phone numbers. She makes Mozzarella cheese, from goats milk. I intend to get a bit from her for my Eggplant Parm.

I used to think we grew it all. Never thought about growing cheese! Now what better place to make a new friend but in the canning aisle at Walmart when you are laying the garden by? I’ll bet I can talk HER into taking some water plants!

Well, the jars are hot and ready to fill with luscious seed free tomatoes, so I’ll get to it … Little Susie Homemaker cans again!

— Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson, who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.