Wait! It’s time to start thinking about next year’s garden ALREADY?

Tuesday night I probably passed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on my way home from work but didn’t notice – I had two back-to-back evening meetings cancelled, leaving me with an unexpectedly free evening.  (The odds of having two meetings on the same night cancelled are so astronomical I can’t calculate them, and I probably should have purchased a lottery ticket on my way home.)  It must have been the end of the world – I had a free evening.  Perhaps the Horsemen in were in the drive-through line at Dunkin’ Donuts which is why I missed them when I drove by.

So, home then, for dinner.  While chatting with J, I flipped through the pile of mail and there it was, shining like a new penny, calling out to me like a siren’s song:  the new seed catalog.  (Cue chorus of angels singing.)

We have been loyal to Pinetree Garden Seeds since we first started growing our own vegetables.  Our first year, we ordered several different company catalogs on the advice of my father-in-law, but were most interested in Pinetree because they’re based in Maine and family owned and operated.  Their seeds are relatively inexpensive, orders are packed by hand, and they guarantee their product.  Last year we only looked at their catalog for our orders, and placed our order just after Christmas, in early January.

Now, Christmas calls to mind many things for people – decorations, tree trimming, gathering with family, celebrations – and it does for me too, but in addition, Christmas to me is the line in the sand for chosing the seeds to be ordered after the first of the year.  I distinctly remember sitting in the living room last year, admiring our decorated Christmas tree, circling types of seeds to add to our list.  And since we put up a fresh tree we cut down ourselves (that’s a whole other blog-worthy post) within two weekends of Christmas, in my head I have the seed catalog arriving in December, not before Thanksgiving.

But there it was.  And so I did what any garden enthusiast who had an unexpected free night home with her husband:  I completely ignored him and spent time paging through the catalog, pencil in hand.  I think he tried to talk to me.  I think he tried to tell me about his day.  But his train of thought must have been interrupted many times with my abrupt interjections to read him the catalog descriptions of things like lunar white carrots (“Henry VIII ate them!”) and purple trionfo violetta pole beans (“They overran the trelises and the adjacent rows of corn.  And they’re purple!”)

I did eventually put the catalog down, mostly because I needed to get up and get another glass of water.  At which point J grabbed both the catalog and my pencil……..and began circling his own selection of seeds.


In addition to our success with tomatoes this year we also claim success with the pumpkins.  Moving them to the back-40 field and essentially ignoring them seems to have done the trick.  We harvested 23 Jack-Be-Littles:

Seven Orange Smoothies:

The orange smoothie is the one in the front

And two Howdens.  One of which rotted before I could photograph it, and I’m not sure where the other one went in the big pile on the porch.  The Lumina vines were eaten by bugs.  So no Luminas, but that’s okay.  We’ll try again next year.  We did decide that we needed bigger pumpkins for carving later this month, so while we were in New York we purchased we purchased five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins for carving from an Amish farmstand and added them to our own haul.   They came out even better than last year:

In celebration of pumpkins, nothing says fall like a pumpkin spice martini.  We discovered these last year, when we purchased a bottle of Hiram Walker’s Pumpkin Spice liqueur for Halloween and tried to figure out what to do with it.  The result was the martinis.  The liqueur is only available in the fall, so once we used it up last year, no more pumpkin spice martinis.  Imagine my excitement when J brought it home this year. Fall has officially begun!

Pumpkin Spice Martini:

1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz Bailey’s
1 1/2 oz pumpkin spice liqueur
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine the vodka, Bailey’s and pumpkin spice liqueur in a shaker with ice.  Pour evenly between two martini glasses, and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.


This year was the best year for pumpkins that we’ve ever had.

Sadly, it did not meet our expectations.

I am delighted by the Jack-Be-Littles (23) and Orange Smoothies (7) that we picked, sad that we only got 2 Howdens and no Luminas.

While in New York at the end of September, we purchased five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins for carving, which we did last night.  (Due to a damaging weekend Nor’easter that brought 10″+ of snow and massive power outages in the area – thankfully, we were not among them – Halloween was postponed from 10/31 to tonight, November 4)  They came out even better than last year:

My haunted house with the ghost looks a little lame.  J’s monster is much better, mostly because he has the patience to spend an hour carving it, where I whipped mine off in about 35 minutes.

And we got (X number) trick-or-treaters to appreciate our hard work.  And then they were set on fire, as is now a household tradition:

The Nor’easter finally did what a hot summer, Hurricane Irene and benign neglect did not – finished off the garden.  We ripped up the eggplants and peppers (although we just had our last meal with eggplant on Monday; there were enough left to do an Asian-style roasted eggplant side dish) and I cut all of the parsley, which was still growing merrily, just as the snow started to fly last Saturday afternoon.  We gave half to our neighbor H, who will be selling her house and will probably have moved by next year, which is sad for us but good for her – she’ll be moving closer to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.  Hope the new neighbor(s) like fresh vegetables…..