First you have to plant a garden.

September’s here. So soon?

There’s that hint of the coming season in the air. A near-record hot day followed with a near-record cold (or cool) night. Great for finishing tomatoes and sleeping, this kind of weather.

I don’t have tomatoes planted this year. The yard nazis probably would have cut them to the ground anyway, like they did my little herb garden. They did trim a tomato plant to the ground one year. Truly steamed me!

But I wander.

If I had tomatoes planted, this would be the time of year I’d have buckets full ripening each day. I’d have enough to give away or freeze or can or turn into tomato juice. I like that! Homemade tomato juice is something I like to make.

My garden space is so poor, this was a whole season's "crop" a few years back.

My garden space is so poor, this was a whole season’s “crop” a few years back.

Mine is alive, not flat and “canny” like commercial tomato juice. Mine has basil (yum!), ginger, salt, pepper, a tiny amount of sugar to brighten flavor, garlic, onion…whatever spices or herbs I have handy that sound right at the time. Oh, marjoram is lovely in tomato juice. Sage. Best when those herbs are home grown.

But I salivate!

If the yard nazis haven’t trimmed them down to the ground, this is the prime time of year, too, for marigolds and nasturtiums, two of my favorites. I’ve never eaten the former, but the latter…mildly spicy, floral, great fresh on sliced garden tomatoes! Mmmm! Along with all my other favorites, especially the many varieties of basil.

Mmm! Basil!

One year I grew twelve different varieties of basil. I didn’t know there were so many. I got a seed catalog in the mail, however, with that many varieties. I tried them all!

That was the same year I planted six varieties of heirloom tomatoes grown from seed from the same catalogue. It was heaven! Plain old sliced tomatoes topped with oil, twelve varieties of basil chopped, a little chopped mint, and chopped nasturtiums, salt and pepper: the family practically made a meal of tomatoes alone! We could have. And we barely made a dent in the abundance of tomatoes and herbs.


You know the season’s over, too, when your non-gardening neighbors pull the blinds and lock the doors when their “spidey sense” tells them that shopping bag you’re carrying is full to the top with zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans. More for me! I miss having a decent garden area, even though there are only so many ways to use up all that fresh produce before it goes bad. I love the challenge of too much garden produce.

Of course, first you have to plant a garden.