by Leslie Cox; Saturday; September 23, 2017
Well…the overnight temperatures are starting to dip dangerously. Last Monday’s (18th) reading from the thermometer on the back porch was 3.5 °C (38.3 °F). That gave me a kick in the butt! Time to start bringing the tender plants back indoors…jades, rex begonias, pelargoniums (tender geraniums), areca palm. It is the end of summer vacation for them!
Actually, I do not mind having my houseplants back indoors. The house has seemed a little bare throughout the summer season. And if I have to spend more time indoors because of rain and cold, then I prefer my space to be crammed full of green.
Heck. Indoor plants create healthy living. They recycle carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. Some clean the air…like my areca palm…not that I use noxious harsh chemicals in my housecleaning duties. But keeping one or two air-filtering plants in strategic spots makes me feel better. Or maybe it is just the greenery. There is something soothing about the atmosphere plants generate.
Another item on the gardening agenda this week…finally got the lettuce, mustard, kale, and dwarf pak choi seedlings in the ground. Should have done it two weeks ago, but it just never filtered to the top of the list. So, giving credence to the advancing season and hedging our best, we planted a few of the lettuce, mustard, and kale seedlings in the greenhouse. Just in case. Especially since the first frost in fall of 2016 was on October 11th with an overnight low of -1.5 °C (29.3 °F). Drat. I should have given myself a kick in the butt earlier. But fingers are crossed the early frost last year was a fluke because we did not have frost until November 2nd in 2015 and November 11th in 2014. Who am I kidding??? Frost hit us on October 4th in 2012. I may well have jeopardized our winter crops with my tardiness.
At any rate, the harvesting continues. Zucchinis are almost finished. Cucumbers are long past done. We are leaving the spring-planted kale in the garden…still harvesting the leaves for salads and smoothies. I did dry some kale in my dehydrator for back-up. Cannot be without those healthy smoothies through the winter.
Speaking of healthy…I already mentioned in an earlier blog post this week that I had harvested my aronia berries. Picked close to ten pounds (4.5 kg) of berries from our Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) shrub. Not too shabby given the plant is only three feet (0.9 m) high and five feet (1.5 m) wide. After cleaning the berries, I laid them out on wax paper-lined cookie sheets and placed the trays in the freezer for about four hours. (Truthfully, I was not keeping track of the time!) Once the berries were frozen, I divvied them up into zip-lock freezer bags and labeled them.
So far, I have not utilized them in anything other than as an ingredient in our morning smoothies. Personally, I feel using them in their raw state ensures we are getting maximum benefits from this amazing super berry.
Did you know aronia berries have higher antioxidant content than blackberries, blueberries (both wild and domestic cultivars), cranberries, elderberries, goji berries, and pomegranates? Our black chokeberries score the highest because of the depth of their purple-black colour. Besides its anthocyanins, chokeberries contain other beneficial compounds which, in combination, makes them a wonderful source of anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-diabetic goodness.
Note: Always be mindful of what you are ingesting, in spite of all the healthy benefits which are wrapped up in aronia berries. While there are aronia products on the market…juice, jams, jellies, syrup, extract, dried berries…no concrete daily dosage has been set yet. Studies are ongoing to determine the long term effect, if any, the various compounds contained in these berries may have on the human system.
Do your research and talk to your physician!