Last Christmas, a dear friend who clearly knows me well, chose for me what was probably the perfect gift: seeds. Not just seeds, but seeds from Seed Savers Exchange -- gorgeous heirloom seeds for vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Unusual selections I might never have been bold enough to choose for myself, but were lovely to get to experiment with. And they say the best gifts are those that "keep on giving," right? Well, here it is October, and I am still harvesting the fruits of these seeds that I received and planted so many months ago! Who could ask for anything more?
The other night, I made eggplant parmesan (one of my family's favorite dishes) with the most gorgeous, adorable eggplant ever. And we grew it right here by our front walk! The variety is Rossa Bianca, and you can find it at Seed Savers. It was delicious -- zero bitterness, perfectly firm flesh, and beautiful to watch grow. There is another flower on the plant right now and I am just hoping against hope we might be able to get another eggplant before the first frost.
We are also growing these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes called Moonglow. They are orange, not red, when ripe, and are lower in acid than other tomatoes. Absolutely delicious. And the plants -- which we started from seed, mind you! -- have been the happiest, leggiest things. Taller than me, no blight whatsoever, and very productive. This year has been my experiment in zero feeding -- not only did I not use conventional fertilizers like Miracle Gro, I didn't even feed them with compost or organic fertilizers. Nada! They got watered, and that's it. Now, the soil was enriched with organic compost and manure before planting, but still. I am impressed.
My green beans (these lovely Empress Beans) fizzled out earlier than they should due to neglect on my part -- I simply got busy, forgot about them, and failed to keep them picked. Too bad. The ones we got were crisp and lovely.
And finally, for a bit of beauty, the moonflowers are finally blooming. They were started indoors in February, but I remember from trying them a previous year, they are awfully slow growers here. Each blossom only seems to open once, at night, but I caught this picture very early in the morning. If you can't tell from the pic, these flowers are huge, bigger than my open hand. And amazingly fragrant! Too bad they are so fleeting, but I think that's part of their charm.
My friend also gave me zinnias (so tall! so bright! so long-lasting! I am going to plant so very many more of them next year!), several kinds of melon, and more. What fun! Now, hmm, what to put on my wish list for next year.....