21 garden-y things to do on a 3-day weekend

chores 2LIKE THE SQUIRRELS who are criss-crossing the yard with acorns and corncobs and more to stash, I’m busy, too. A list of inspirations on things you might tackle this weekend–and happy Labor Day!

As vegetable beds or portions of beds come empty, sow cover crops, growing “green manure” to build soil health organically.

Get after mice and voles (but never with mothballs!), before they set up winter housekeeping with you.

Make easy herbed salts (great as gifts!) or flavored vinegars (ditto). Freeze some herbs while you’re at it.

Get ahead of the green-bean glut: Freeze some in red sauce. (No kidding; they’re great that way.)

Fight crabgrass by managing it smartly now, and reduce areas of lawn compaction where other weeds thrive.

Make your own yogurt. (Save money, and stop wasting all those plastic tubs that store-bought comes in.)

Bake a peach (or plum, or nectarine, or raspberry…) clafoutis. Easy, yet elegant. (Freeze some more peaches along the way.)

Get ready for fall (or next spring) planting: Make a bed with cardboard or newsprint, smothering weeds or turf easily.

Pickles! Will yours be refrigerator dills, or old-fashioned bread and butters?

Make tomatillo “jam” (I put it on grilled cheese or other sandwiches)…

…or perhaps Deborah Madison’s romesco sauce (nuts, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and more), a Spanish recipe that goes way beyond mere condiment status.

Fill the freezer with garden-to-table soups, like these three that incorporate all your garden goodness.

Root-prune around tomato plants if they’re not looking inclined to ripen before even cooler weather comes on (it was 48F here this week!).

Instead of whistling while you work, listen to some of my archive of radio podcasts (what? you don’t already subscribe free on Stitcher or iTunes?).

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P.S. — Yes, of course, I almost skipped all the ways to translate tomatoes into winter fare—because we talked about them just last week. You know, roasted then frozen; in easy, skins-on sauce; frozen whole in freezer bags…

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    1. margaret says:

      Dear Skeptic: It’s an essential element used to keep the gardener well-fed and humming along at all her chores (and sometimes homegrown/made fruit compotes or jams, or other garden ingredients are added in as well). :)

  1. Yesterday I made tomato jam (OMG!!!), yogurt, watermelon sorbet, and ice cream. If it doesn’t rain today, I’ll clean out the raspberry bed and prepare new raised beds for the incipient mini-orchard. Tomorrow may have to be a day of rest. ;-)

  2. Max says:

    Making some calendula salve from the calendula flower petals I’ve been collecting all summer. Had them soaking in Extra virgin olive oil for a month. Will filter the oil out and mix in some organic bees wax to make home-made lip balm to get me through the winter. ;)

  3. Jane says:

    My busy squirrels harvested every single one of my sunflowers last week, so there is sadly one less chore I have to complete. Made tomatillo jam, tomato paste, and yet another batch of tomato sauce today. Took a break from roasting Juliet tomatoes – there are six batches in the freezer so far and enough sitting on the counter to make at least six more. Late blight struck this week, so my tomato season is about to come to an end – and not a moment too soon.

  4. Brian G. says:

    Must try tomato root pruning this week. Lots of fruit, all in shades of green.

    Your homemade yogurt post finally got me going after years of thinking about it. I will never buy yogurt again. No kidding. Thank you.

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