I used to parboil and peel my tomatoes for sauce. Now I just grind them, peels and all.

Yes, that is an old fashioned food mill bolted to our table. I’ve been processing tomatoes from my little suburban Wake County garden since the second week of July.

Tomato pie, tomato sauce, tomato salad, tomato sandwiches, tomato jam…I’ve made them all.

What I haven’t done is write in the blog, and I feel more than a bit guilty for neglecting it.

But there is only so much time in the day, and I’d feel even guiltier if I wasted my tomatoes, eggplant, and basil.


And then there are the cucumbers. Every time husband Bill goes out in the backyard, he brings in a few more.

No matter–these plants are all coming out this week.

I feel a little guilty about that, too. It is wasting food after all.

But the start of the new garden is waiting under the crape myrtle. It’s time to plant kale, leeks, mustard and chard. And space, like time is limited around here.

So goodbye summer. It’s been fun, but exhausting. Who would have thought I could get so much food out of two little plots.

How did your summer gardens grow?

When Melissa’s Grandma said, “All I want is iris,” I found myself digging Black Gamecock from a good third of the front bed last night.


Is this a good time to move Louisiana Iris? Of course not. It’s going to be 90 degrees next week, after all. So if you’re a member of the Iris Society, stop reading RIGHT NOW.

But I am a sucker for grandmas in general–Evelyn in particular (because co-blogger Melissa loves her so much). And Louisiana Iris are about as sturdy as Southern Grandmas. If you cut back the foliage and DON’T confuse them with their surface-loving, bearded cousins, you should be able to move them successfully any time.

What's going into this big hole in the front bed??? Stay tuned.

What’s going into this big hole in the front bed??? Stay tuned.

Plus, I was over Black Gamecock in the front bed. They bloomed well for a few years, but this year, they had spread too far and needed dividing.

The Spring blooms were over and done.

Outta there! I like to move things when the spirit or grandmas move me. What about you? Need any Black Gamecock? I’ve got plenty to share–


If you read my post about my summer from hell and how the garden got me back in the game of life, this is sort of a follow up. Today would have been my friend Susie Steiner’s birthday.

Those bulbs co-blogger Chris made me buy and plant — well, I bought some called Susie.  I needed to do something after she passed.  Since I didn’t live in her hometown and couldn’t go to the private funeral. I needed some way to create closure. I learned through this process that funerals are not for the dead, they are for the living.  They are for the support from others. They are a way to come to grips of a new realty without someone.  I always thought I wouldn’t have a funeral.  I didn’t want the attention. But now I see the real purpose…

Anyway, when a funeral is not an option for whatever reason, you need a way to accept, remember and move on.


I chose a daffodil.  They are one of my favorite plants.  They are special because they don’t grow just anyway…they don’t grow in California as I have noted before.  <Strike another win for NC.> To me they SCREAM spring, life and hope.


This daffodil I picked is BOLD, vibrant and confident just like its namesake, Susie.  I sawit now blooming around my graden during early spring and it reminded of all my amazing memories with her.

In loving memory my friend!



Lettuce in my BIG chair. Your pots don’t have to be big since the roots are pretty shallow for these plants.

One of my favorite things about gardening is the bounty.  This year I decided to plant a few plugs of kale and lettuce in pots on my porch for easy access.

Boom — Morning green smoothie – Done.  I walk out my back door and pick a handful of kale, wash and add it to a smoothie for a healthy, delicious breakfast.


Here is my recipe: Kale Mango Smoothie

Handful of Dino Kale

1/2 cup of frozen mango

1 small orange, peeled

1/2 cup of water

Blend until smooth

If you have never had fresh lettuce from a garden you are missing out.  You never know what you are missing until you try it.  Fresh lettuce is so tender.  I made a salad for a friend last night and she commented on how wonderful the lettuce was.  I just walked out my backdoor with salad spinner in hand.  Grabbed some leaves, washed, pinched, Voila! Perfect salad.

Lettuce and kale are very easy to grow, but they usually need cool evenings.  There is still time to plant a few before the summer heat develops.  If you are waiting this late to plant, you should go ahead and buy the baby plants or plugs to ensure success.  If you want to try seeds, I would put on your calendar to start those late March earlynext yearApril (at least that is the timeframe for the south).

All you need is a pot, good potting spoil, slow release fertilizer, water and sun.

If you have room for a big garden or just a patio, potted veggies are wonderful.

Happy Gardening!


I have to admit. Sometimes I don’t label.  And sometimes the weather washes out my labels.

If you have been gardening forever, you probably know these by heart, but for the rest of us….we need a little help.

So here it is…I asked co-blogger, Chris, Weed or Plant! Let’s see how she does.

Plant or Weed?


Plant — that’s a baby Helleborus. Save that girl…you can sell those for $6-$8 a piece.

Plant or Weed?


Weed! Pull that thing up!

Plant or Weed?


Weed. That is a wild grapevine and they will take over your yard.

Plant or Weed?


Both – That is some unknown thing mixed within your Bee Balm.

Plant or Weed?


Weed. I remember trying to make a crown with these in elementary school.

Plant or Weed?


Plant. That is a blue Salvia…one of my favs.

So there you have it….a fun game of Weed or Plant.

This is a lesson to me to better label and keep up with my plants…otherwise, I might pull one up by accident.

<Put on to do list, go out and label.>

Happy Gardening!


A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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